A new and updated report by the IUCN has found that the giraffe is nearing closer and closer to extinction. If action isn’t taken, the world’s tallest mammal may not be safe for long. By Gayatri Moodliar

In 2016, it came to the public’s attention that the number of giraffes was showing a downward trend. Jump to present day, and two sub-species are now in the ‘Critically Endangered’ category, that’s one step away from ‘Extinct in the Wild,’ according to The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The Kordofan Giraffe, found in southern Chad, the Central African Republic, northern Cameroon and northern Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nubian Giraffe, found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, both previously unassessed, are silently nearing extinction due to threats such as oil and gas drilling, human disturbances and livestock farming.  

“While giraffe populations in southern Africa are doing just fine, the world’s tallest animal is under severe pressure in some of its core ranges across East, Central and West Africa. It may come as a shock that three of the currently recognised nine subspecies are now considered ‘Critically Endangered’ or ‘Endangered’, but we have been sounding the alarm for a few years now,” says Dr Julian Fennessy, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC GOSG, and Director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). 

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IUCN RED LIST CONFIRMS : GIRAFFE UNDER THREAT… The iconic giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), one of the world’s most recognisable animals and the tallest land mammal, has moved from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ in the newly released International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Human population growth poses the largest threat to giraffe in Africa today. Habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, illegal hunting, increasing human-wildlife conflict, as well as civil unrest, are all factors that are pushing giraffe towards extinction. This news follows the recent genetic based research by GCF, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Change Research Centre and other partners, that suggests that there are four distinct species of giraffe instead of only one, the IUCN currently only recognises giraffe as one species. Should these new genetic findings be confirmed and become widely accepted, this would likely result in three of the four giraffe species being listed as under considerable threat on the IUCN Red List. For more information go to our website 📷 Photo Credit @wild.anjadenker www.giraffeconservation.org #giraffeconservationfoundation #conservation #giraffe #research #giraffeconservation #savegiraffe #iucn #redlist #threatenedspecies #animal #animalconservation #africasgiants #saveafricasgiants #gcf #wild #wildlife #wilderness #nature #wildlifephotography

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As for the other sub-species, there is some positive news from the IUCN report, as two of them have actually seen a rise due to sincere and concentrated conservation efforts. The Rothschild’s Giraffe has moved up the nine-point scale from ‘Vulnerable’ to ‘Near Threatened,’ and the West African Giraffe is also moving in a positive direction, proving that should proper conservation efforts be put in place, a significant change can be seen.

Conservation efforts mostly focus on educating groups about more sustainable agricultural practices, and afforestation plans to replenish the giraffe’s food source, but more than anything else, it’s awareness that’s truly required, as the giraffes have been in trouble, silently, for years now.  

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