Thornicrofts and West African giraffes, on the other hand, are considered to be "vulnerable," while the Rothschild’s giraffe is "near threatened." Many zoos have robust giraffe-specific conservation programs, and need support in particular because these species are not on the public’s radar as one that is in danger of going extinct. “There are fewer giraffes left on this planet than African elephants.”. A rare subspecies is being slaughtered for use as a dowry. Trade in giraffe parts is both legal and largely untracked in the United States because the government doesn’t currently recognize the species as endangered. And finally it did bupkis. Why are giraffes important to the environment? Two subspecies (Kordofan and Nubian giraffe), are now listed as Critically Endangered, Reticulated giraffe as Endangered, Thornicroft’s giraffe as Vulnerable, while Angolan giraffe are listed as Least Concern. The West African Giraffe came close to extinction. But as human population numbers rise, and settlements are established that require the cutting of trees, habitat loss becomes a huge threat to all species of giraffe. At the time, Garamba was home to just 40 Kordofan giraffes ― the only remaining population in the Congo. Giraffes are also threatened by the proliferation of disease, including a lesion-inducing skin disease that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as inbreeding (a result of populations’ inability to intermix due to habitat fragmentation) and the increased frequency and magnitude of droughts associated with climate change. Of the nine subspecies of giraffes, Masai and reticulated giraffes are endangered, and Nubian and Kordofan giraffes are critically endangered. Nubian giraffes are a subspecies of northern giraffe, and just 2,645 are left in the wild. Of the threats facing the planet’s tallest mammals, habitat loss is one of the gravest. How Can Endangered Species Be on Both IUCN’s Red List and the New Green List. Cause behind giraffes becoming endangered. Their proposal would ensure that all traded giraffe parts were legally acquired and not taken from poached giraffes. According to the IUCN, both subspecies are “critically endangered,” which means they face an “extremely high risk” of extinction in the wild. Where its power derives is in the thickness of the muscles around its heart, which can be measured getting thicker as the size of the giraffe increases and its blood supply demands grow. That law covers any species that is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”. “Giraffes Endangered!” – a phrase that seems to be making headlines these days. It may seem like all giraffes have the same mosaic-like patchwork pattern on their skin, but giraffe experts know that each one of the species of giraffe has their own design. The agency was required by law to respond within 90 days. 41. Giraffes with a longer neck also typically get to enjoy a higher rank within the social hierarchy, allowing them to dominate other males and, statistically, mate more frequently, giving them a “leg up” on transmitting those long-necked genes. Rather than facing the wrath of a federal judge, FWS issued a finding in April 2019 that the endangerment listing “may be warranted.” That gave the agency nine additional months to decide whether the listing is, in fact, warranted. It is therefore surprising that people know so little about them, or that their survival in the wild is so threatened. Yet in nature, there is no other animal that seems to have used this same technique; no other species with an elongated neck. It is also believed that giraffes’ tall vantage point and excellent vision help them to spot danger early, and gives other herbivores in the area the “heads up” when carnivores are coming. Its attackers should take note. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which implements the ESA, to recognize giraffes as endangered. Though many governments are enacting new habitat management and protection for giraffes through conservation initiatives and improved law enforcement, community awareness is still struggling to keep up. Giraffes are currently in danger of extinction. As an iconic animal of Africa’s savannah, it would be heartbreaking to lose the symbol of the wild – that silhouette of the giraffe on the sunset horizon of the savannah, yet it could be a strong possibility if action is not taken soon. And an endangered listing would not altogether cancel out the struggle that federal authorities face in working with legal provisions that allow the importation of endangered species parts that are at least 100 years old. Two subspecies of giraffe have populations of less than 250 animals, including the West African giraffe and the Nubian giraffe. In 2017, a coalition of conservation groups (including NRDC) petitioned the U.S. Many people, including conservationists, remain unaware that the world’s tallest animal is experiencing a silent slide towards extinction. Giraffes eat about 140 pounds of food every day, all consisting of leaves. Increased urbanisation, poaching, illegal hunting practices, and civil unrest in parts of Africa prove to be an increasing danger for giraffes. Giraffes are not classified as an endangered species. The population overall has declined 40 percent in 30 years, and there are now approximately 68,000 left in the wild. Civil wars are a further challenge. The complex blood pressure system that the giraffe uses to regulate its gangly body has actually been used as inspiration by NASA in their development of human space suits. Still, putting giraffes on the endangered species list would go a long way to help them. NRDC conservation expert Sylvia Fallon offers tips for being a better neighbor to local animals. More than half of those live in Murchison Falls National Park. Thanks for signing up. Finally, the robust international trade in giraffes and their parts—a trade in which the United States plays a significant role—is a major factor in the species’ decline. Having a long neck may make giraffes seem really cool on the outside, but the physiology underneath, helping it all work, makes it even more exceptional! WHY ARE GIRAFFES ENDANGERED? So, a year and a half later, the coalition sued. Many giraffe populations are already severely fragmented, in addition to being at least 50 percent smaller than reported half a century ago in many regions. In the wild, they can be found in a number of differently protected areas, from government-run national parks to private or communal lands. Because conservation is working—and success should be celebrated. Giraffes, the world’s tallest land mammals and a majestic sight in zoos and reserves everywhere, are being threatened with extinction because of illegal hunting and a decline in their natural habitat, a report says.. For example, the Kordofan giraffe has lost 90 percent of its population since the late 1980s and is down to just 2,000 individuals in the wild. its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. Let us know if you liked this article. By LOUISE DEWAST. In 2016 it … To put it in context, there is reportedly one giraffe for every four African elephants, which themselves are considered a vulnerable species. At any given moment, even a modestly savvy internet shopper can find thousands of products made from giraffe parts online. Giraffes, large-bodied grazing mammals, need 140 pounds of leaves each day, necessitating their traverse over huge distances daily in order to get enough to eat. According to IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, there are only over 4,000 Kordofan and Nubian giraffes left in the wild — meaning, the gentle creatures are just a stage away from being extinct. As he explains in the NatGeo video below, Hamlin was flying over Garamba National Park in June when he spotted three of the park’s critically endangered giraffes in a clearing. Why are giraffes endangered? How Can I Protect Wildlife in My Community? Greentumble is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Giraffes face mounting threats from habitat loss and fragmentation: Growing human populations and urban development — and the accompanying increase in agriculture, mines, and other extractive industries — are destroying giraffes' homes and converting their habitat for human use. While heavy machinery keeps spraying #monocrops with #pesticides and #fertilizers, millions of #family #farmers are applying agroecological approaches to redress those impacts and revive #rural areas. State Disclosures. Listed as Critically endangered 2 more subspecies are vulnerable according to the IUCN Learn more about the threats facing wild animals including giraffe. We Made It Only Two Days Into the New Year Before a Species Went Extinct, Week 114: Trump’s EPA Questions if Air Pollution Really Kills (It Does), and Nearly 1,400 Endangered Species Get Sold Out, Poachers Abuse an International-Law Loophole to Sell Some of the Rarest Animals on Earth. As with the endangerment or extinction of any animal or plant species now, humans are at the root of it. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature states that the giraffe population has gone down by over 40% in the past 30 years. Their legs and neck are not the only thing about the giraffe that’s huge – their tongues can be up to two feet long! Four out of five of us express support for the Endangered Species Act. This conservation rank means the animal is facing extinction in the wild in the coming future if efforts are not made to minimize threats to either habitat or life.. Never, ever buy giraffe products. The world's tallest land mammal has … Hawaiians will never again hear the song of George the Snail. And contact your representatives in Congress to let them know that you are concerned about the silent extinction crisis facing giraffes. Read more about us. When you sign up you'll become a member of NRDC's Activist Network. Giraffes are a keystone African herbivore. Giraffes are also believed to be pollinators, as they go from tree to tree, blossom to blossom, across large distances. In West Africa, giraffes are hunted for their tails, their pelts, and their meat. As a result, giraffe population has decreased 40% … In the wild, giraffes have few predators aside from humans. Standard giraffe pregnancies last 15 months, but the period of time is not set as it is for humans. Charcoal is another challenge: Africa’s charcoal industry is booming, with many Africans making their living harvesting trees and burning the wood to form the lumpy black fuel. Giraffes can still be found in 21 African countries, and in zoos in almost every part of the world. Currently the members of the convention are mulling over a proposal to list the species, brought forth by the giraffe range states of the Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger, and Senegal. The population of Masai giraffes has declined by almost 50% in the last three decades. Three of the nine giraffe subspecies are currently considered critically endangered. Knowing giraffes. They were such an iconic part of the African landscape that it was assumed they were in no danger and little focus was paid to research and protection. They are instantly recognizable. While this cottage industry is a boon to many low-income workers, it’s a problem for giraffes, who rely on those trees for sustenance. There are nine subspecies of giraffes and all are en… Their extinction would be tragic enough by itself, but if the reason was that no one was looking hard enough, it would not only be tragic but shameful. Of the threats facing the planet’s tallest mammals, habitat loss is one of the gravest. (You can’t.). The hooves of an adult giraffe are approximately the size of your dinner plate. And, as human populations rise, the demand for meat will only cause further detriment to giraffe populations living in proximity. Support WWF. The Natural Resources Defense Council works to safeguard the earth - its people, Giraffe populations are dwindling. And, of course, spreading the word about the marvels of the giraffe, extending past just its long neck. Interior’s Bernhardt helped bury a damning pesticide report, the Clean Air Committee goes soft on soot, and Trump nominates a climate change denier to the Fed board. The giraffe population is not any different. A giraffe’s blood pressure is extremely high – twice that found in a healthy human, and its heart beats up to 170 times per minute. In the case of giraffes, we know that males have longer necks than females, and also engage in a male-male fighting over mates, referred to as “necking.”. The declining numbers are due largely to poaching, habitat loss, human population growth and degradation of the giraffe's habitat. How do female giraffes give birth? Of the nine subspecies of giraffes, Masai and reticulated giraffes are endangered, and Nubian and Kordofan giraffes are critically endangered. Similarly, the Nubian giraffe population is down 98 percent and lives only on protected lands in Kenya. Acacia trees and their seeds, a favorite food of giraffes, are not favored by other species so seed germination of this iconic African tree would be stymied without the germination effects of giraffes’ consumption. Giraffes need to find habitats that protect them from poachers, offer solid food and fluid resources, do not have an abundance of predators and provide an overall stable environment. In an attempt to raise awareness of the conservation of these incredible creatures, many media outlets are reporting that giraffes are becoming endangered in various parts of Africa. Family. Additionally, giraffes don’t actually have more cervical vertebrae in their necks than, say, humans. On Thursday, at … So, if a giraffe was trying to reach leaves that were too high, it would be able to stretch and eventually lengthen its own neck to reach them. Part of the reason why giraffes have suffered from such a drastic decline is simply because no one was really paying attention. Giraffes are a threatened species and many of their populations are endangered and declining.. And for some of the nine subspecies, this risk is imminent. Here are the four main struggles: Some of the causes behind the destruction of giraffes' habitat are also urban development and agriculture expansion. Jean Baptiste Lamarck used giraffes as an example of his theories, completely change the habitats around them, upgraded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to “Vulnerable”, Why Is Genetic Diversity Important for Survival. Giraffes in Danger of Extinction: Why Their Numbers Have Dropped The population has dwindled across Africa for several reasons. But until now, no international regulations governed their trade. The theory rests on the idea that the ability to not rely on high competition vegetation that was lower to the ground gave the giraffes with longer necks the ability to be be healthy, reproduce, and transmit those long-necked genes to their offspring. Giraffes are susceptible to poaching as they are largely docile animals that are easy to kill and provide a lot of meat. Many animals are killed in order to feed those who hunt, but the demand from other countries for bush meat is also high (and much of which is actually exported to Europe and elsewhere). The Reticulated, Thornicroft’s and West African giraffes are also listed as Endangered or Vulnerable. Giraffe are highly social animals and live in herds of 15-20 female giraffe and some young males. Elly Pepper, deputy director of NRDC’s Wildlife Trade Initiative, says there’s much that U.S. advocates can do to end the illegal marketplaces endangering animals across the globe. The remaining herds are fragmented and face a multitude of threats, from habitat loss to poaching. Although these new listings sound the alarm, there is reason for hope. Excellent for keeping a lookout for lions. Recognition of their plight by the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) would also go a long way toward helping to save giraffes. We are working hard to improve our content. An ESA listing would also shine a much needed spotlight on the plight of giraffes, a development that is less concrete but no less important than specific regulatory measures. While giraffes don’t live in the wild in the United States, Pepper adds that “there are steps the government must take under the terms of U.S. law to protect them.” It’s important to acknowledge the iconic mammals are a favorite trophy target of hunters traveling to Africa; U.S. hunters imported 3,744 dead giraffes between 2006 and 2015. Habitat destruction is the leading reason Giraffes are endangered. Given that fact, plus the alarmingly vigorous trade in giraffe parts in the United States, endangered status would trigger several important protections for the species. In actuality, it was his theories that were a bit of a stretch. Giraffe babies, or calves, often fall prey to herds of carnivores, but, for the most part, giraffes are safe within their natural ecosystem. The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is working to provide giraffes with new safe spaces. Each one of their cervical vertebrae is just longer. There is a newer hypothesis that addresses these questions and also reminds us that the ability to find a mate is not always reliant on our ability to feed ourselves, but to be attractive to the opposite sex. “These important steps will vastly increase public consciousness of the plight of giraffes.”. In Niger, where many giraffes have been struck by cars, the population is so small and isolated that conservation officials have taken the drastic step of transporting some of the animals to a safer space. A primary contributor to the giraffes’ loss of habitat is conversion of woodlands into farms and ranches. The next steps are endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild and extinct. They’re being considered for ‘endangered’ status. Giraffes considered for ‘endangered’ status after steady population decline ‘We love these animals, and they’ve been undergoing a silent extinction without the public being aware of it’ How You Can Help. Giraffes may look all the same, but in the wild, there are actually four species of giraffes: Though it has been reported that giraffes have cross-bred in zoos, all of these species and their subspecies live in very geographically distinct areas across the continent of Africa, and very infrequently overlap in the wild. In some countries, like Mali, the giraffe has disappeared completely. The giraffe, or giraffa camelopardalis, is endangered due to habitat loss, the breaking up of habitat areas, the lack of suitability in existing habitats, poaching and new human population growth. In the 1980s, it was estimated that about 150,000 total giraffes lived in the wild, but today, not even 40 years later, that number has dropped by 40 percent Africa-wide. Giraffes occur in countries with the highest fertility rates in the world, so human encroachment is a threat that will only continue to grow. Their conservation status was reclassified from a species of least concern to vulnerable in 2016 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in response to increased mortality rates brought on by habitat loss and illegal hunting. Though it was thought that the giraffe has a “huge” heart to accomplish all this pumping and beating, it actually has a relatively small heart. The proposal would also enable authorities to collect international trade data for giraffes that would justify greater protections by both the members of CITES and other scientific and governmental bodies in the future. (It can be exceedingly difficult for a customs official to determine the age of a piece of elephant ivory or giraffe bone.). But why, since most species of giraffes live in similar landscapes? The biggest effect of giraffes’ listing under the ESA would be a severe curtailing of importation and trade within the country. They are very well-known in the Western world, thanks their presence at zoos and the popularity of toys like Sophie the giraffe or Geoffrey the Giraffe, the mascot of the now-defunct chain, Toys ‘R Us, or April, the perpetually pregnant giraffe whose live birthing garnered millions of online viewers. In the face of ever-growing pressure on their livelihoods, some Sudanese have also turned to giraffe bushmeat as a means of survival. In 2016, all four species of giraffe were upgraded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to “Vulnerable” and two species in particular, the West African giraffe and the Rothschild’s giraffe, are now listed as “Endangered.”. They have the ability to completely change the habitats around them. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty. There are situations in which trade in giraffe parts might still be permitted, such as for use in research, education, and activities to help propagate the species. Giraffes have already become extinct in seven African countries, so, while it is hard to believe that such a well-known species could be removed from an ecosystem, it has already happened in many places. “Giraffes are in serious danger of extinction, and that is why the U.S. Severed giraffe heads and bones can fetch up to $140 each, making this a highly tempting option for potential poachers. While traversing the landscape to feed all day, they are in actuality pruning and distributing seeds across the terrain, helping to keep the habitat managed for other wildlife to use. An important international agreement for stopping illegal wildlife trade deserves our attention—and now. It is hard to imagine that they are not equally abundant in the wild, but the assumption that they are and the subsequent lack of public support for conservation programs to save them is putting the survival of the giraffe across Africa in jeopardy. Female giraffes give birth standing up and within 30 minutes, offspring are standing and then running only hours later. Why don't giraffes drink much water? Their physiology — their height and long necks — is so interesting that it has inspired centuries of scientists, trying to figure out what environmental events caused the giraffe to end up looking like it does. How can you tell the difference between a captive-bred turtle and a wild-caught one? Giraffes have the biggest eyes among terrestrial mammals — their peripheral vision extends so wide that they can see behind themselves! What is the key to their success?https://t.co/179Z5AnYTw pic.twitter.com/Qw7hXuBBQK. According to data provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the giraffe population has been in declined since 1985. While there are no wild giraffes in the U.S., Pepper said declaring the giraffes as an endangered species would sharply curtail the the international trade in bone carvings, skins, and trophies. When we say that "giraffes are a vulnerable species" we are referring to officially vulnerable status. Though they have been known to be victims of crocodiles, it is not a common occurrence. In what’s being called a “silent extinction,” Giraffe population numbers dropped from 155,000 in 1985 to 97,000 in 2015, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. It’s not just one thing which contributes to such a decline but a combination of complex factors which must be considered together to understand the full picture. A giraffe’s heart has to generate nearly double the normal blood pressure of other mammals to give the giraffe’s brain adequate blood supply. Illegal hunting is also a problem for the species. Sadly, it’s not just the meat that is in high demand. We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports. So, as giraffes are distributed closer and further from the equator within Africa, they can be more specialized to withstand the direct sunlight they are subjected to during their long periods of open grazing. Also known as the Nigerien giraffe, the West … Giraffes are curiously ungainly animals. Famously, early evolutionary biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck used giraffes as an example of his theories, that, if an animal needed to adapt to suit its environment, it could do so within its own lifetime. Fish and Wildlife Service who have the power to grant protection to giraffes. When CITES confers conservation status on a species, it restricts the international trade in that creature. Legally, not yet. Baby giraffes are born already six feet tall. Giraffes used to range continuously through much of the African savanna, but they now live in a handful of communities scattered in clumps across the continent. At any given moment, even a modestly savvy internet shopper can find thousands of products from. West … Cause behind giraffes becoming endangered are currently considered critically endangered more... Subspecies, this risk is imminent, which implements the ESA would a. A year and a half later, the coalition sued the last three decades in our minds hearts... Zoo and see how they are poached for their hide, meat, bones, and Nubian Kordofan! The Nubian giraffe population is down 98 percent and lives only on protected lands in Kenya, Sara Ovi... 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