The last of a West African herd of giraffes, which were living in the wild in Niger, are reproducing in large numbers.

A 1996 study concluded that there were on about 50 of them left. However, a recent tally suggests there are about 310, reported the AFP.

The giraffes, scientifically called giraffa camelopardalis peralta, are distinguished by their light spots and are only found in the Sahel, according to AFP. They were nearly extinct due poachers overhunting, but a campaign was launched to protect them.

Efforts deployed by the government to protect the giraffes have borne fruit as their population has increased from about 50 in 1996 to 310 in 2011, said the environment ministry of Niger said quoting the result of the latest census, according to the AFP.

A recent census of the animals concluded there are approximately 146 males and 164 females and live near the city of Koure, about an hour from the capital city of Niamey.

The Association to Safeguard the Giraffes of Niger, a non-government organization created with the objective of saving the West African Giraffes. The ASGN established a protection zone and community projects in the area.

While poachers still present a threat the rare giraffes, highway traffic at night also poses serious danger.

In 2010, the AGSN attempted to track the giraffes by satellite-radio transmitters attached to their necks. These had to be removed after the animals developed problems wearing them, reported AFP.