A volunteer whose interest in giraffe was sparked when she joined an Earthwatch project in Namibia eight years ago has helped to establish the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF).
Rebecca Muddeman is one of the founders of GCF, which officially launched in London in February of this year. Her inspiring story began in 2002 when she volunteered on an Earthwatch desert elephant and giraffe project in Namibia. It was there that she met Dr. Julian Fennessy, a co-founder of GCF; Dr. Fennessy is currently Executive Director of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and one of the world's foremost giraffe experts.
Rebecca says: "The Earthwatch project was quite an amazing experience. The same year I sponsored eight satellite collars for elephants and we did a trial on four satellite collars for giraffe. This was the first time this had been done for giraffe."
It was during this second trip to North West Namibia to help Dr. Fennessy to collar the giraffe to track their range and movement patterns that Rebecca met another Earthwatch volunteer, Andy Tutchings, a lifelong wildlife enthusiast.
Rebecca explains: "When Greg Edwards, our Chairman, approached Dr. Fennessy about starting a giraffe charity, the team came together - me, Andy, Greg, and another mutual friend Mary Rice, Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency. We are all volunteers, bringing different skills to the table. I would urge anyone who has an interest to volunteer. It's a wonderful, life-changing experience. All this has proved one important point to me: you don't have to be a scientist or have a zoology degree to be involved in conservation."
She adds: "I am delighted to be involved in the early stages of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and feel that the organization can really make a difference with vital work to support giraffe conservation across Africa."
Rebecca's passion for wildlife and conservation was kindled during her childhood on a remote farm in Cornwall. Since moving to Devon in 2003, she has trained as a marine mammal medic with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue and runs a junior wildlife group with the Devon Wildlife Trust.
Read more about the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
Find out how you can volunteer with Earthwatch in Africa.