The tallest land animal in the world is running short in number. And if we don’t stop with our hunting practices, the giraffes will soon become history. In the last couple of years, humans have successfully wiped out several species off the planet. Sadly it looks like we won’t change our ways until it is all gone. From the dodo to the Stellar’s sea cow, multiple birds and animals have disappeared forever due to climate change and hunting practices. After the blue macaw was declared extinct from the wild earlier this year, the tallest animal on land, Giraffes are now added to the list of endangered species on the verge of extinction. The animal which roamed the earth in great numbers is now running short and fighting for survival.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature announced that the body has moved the giraffe from ‘Least Concern’ to the status of ‘Vulnerable.’ According to the Red List of Threatened Species report, the animals in the vulnerable list will face extinction in the near future. Of course is something is not done to conserve those species.
How did Giraffes go from ‘least concern’ to hardly any left? Giraffes have been a hunter’s favorite. Their tall body makes them more noticeable in the wild and hence, more vulnerable to hunting. According to the Guardian, 40 percent of the total giraffe population has been wiped out in just 30 years.
“Whilst giraffes are commonly seen on safari, in the media, and in zoos, people—including conservationists—are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction,” said Julian Fennessy, the co-chairman of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group. In the last 30 years, the numbers of giraffes have dropped from 157,000 individuals in 1985 to 97,500 at last count.
“With a decline of almost 40 percent in the last three decades alone, the world’s tallest animal is under severe pressure in some of its core ranges across East, Central and West Africa. As one of the world’s most iconic animals, it is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late,” Julian added in a press conference.
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Even though the news of giraffes entering the endangered club came as a shock to many, the rate at which giraffes are hunted down should have been a clue. The animal is regularly hunted for its meat, skin, and tail. For some hunters, it’s all about the money they’d get by selling the products and for some, it’s a matter of pride because taking down a harmless animal who’s minding its own business is such a mighty deed, isn’t it?
Other than hunting, industrialization and constant deforestation leading to a loss of habitat, are also one of the reasons the giraffe is struggling to survive. Human disturbance has caused numerous species to disappear forever. Pika, The Bornean orangutan, Giant Otter, Amur Leopard, Black-Footed Ferret, Sumatran Rhinoceros, and Pangolin are some other animals fighting for survival.
In 2016, Sir David Attenborough warned people in a BBC documentary that the giraffes will soon become extinct. “These gentle giants have been overlooked. It’s well known that African elephants are in trouble and there are perhaps just under half a million left. But what no one realized is there are far fewer giraffes. Giraffes have already become extinct in seven countries. They are killed for their meat and their habitats are being destroyed. Time is running out,” he said.