The giraffe population in west Africa has increased from a mere 50 in 1996 to more than 200 today. Conservationists, the Niger government, and local villagers have joined forces to save the giraffe from imminent extinction. In 1998 the government banned hunting and poaching, with severe fines and five-year jail terms as a consequence, and six years later the population had doubled. Surrounding villagers considered giraffes worthless pests until the Association to Safeguard the Giraffes of Niger taught them to consider giraffes to be worth their while. The Association has built wells, planted trees, and educated local guides to lead tourists. And the government also makes money on the tourist fees. Finally, the giraffes are able to flourish because their natural predators have also disappeared from the region.
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