“..These majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction,” says Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN’s giraffe and okapi specialist group. “It is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late.”
Giraffes have now moved two places down on the RED LIST, the authoritative list, compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), from ‘least concern’ to now ‘vulnerable’.
Giraffes have seen a 38% decline in their numbers since 1985, falling from about 157,000 to 97,500 today. The main reasons have included habitat loss through development and farming, mass hunting, mining and pollution. Giraffes have already become extinct in seven countries already.
With African human expansion and development on the rise combined with civil wars, the giraffe is extremely vulnerable and perhaps has slipped by unnoticed as people have focused in on the rhino and elephants’ plight.
In October 2016, a major analysis found the number of wild creatures was on track to fall by two-thirds by 2020, compared to 1970 which shocked the world. As well as the giraffe, recent red list updates have also found the eastern Gorilla and whale shark moving closer to extinction.
Despite the this looming mass extinction, many varieties of animals remain unstudied and some not even discovered yet. “Many species are slipping away before we can even describe them,” said Inger Andersen, IUCN’s director general.
Source: The Guardian