The distribution area of the giraffe in West Africa has been significantly reduced. A conservation project linked with eco-tourism activities has been developed in order to save the last herd of giraffes in Niger (about 50 animals in 1996). The attitudes towards giraffes underlying this project differ greatly from those of the local populations. However, hunting prohibitions are respected and the number of giraffes is increasing. The behaviour of the giraffes has changed and they cause much damage to crops. The local populations, who are the real actors in this conservation action, draw no advantage from tourism and their status has been lowered. Nevertheless, thanks to this project and the status of giraffes, symbols of the region, the conflicts and competitions between local populations are being redefined, as well as their
Niger, giraffe, conservation, social representations, conflicts.