GIRAFFES are set to be labelled an endangered species, after a worrying population decline has prompted petitions for the animal to be protected by law.
In 2016 it is estimated that there were just 97,000 giraffes left in the wild – a terrifying 40% decline in the animal’s population over 31 years.
The giraffe is set to be listed an endangered species after a terrifying 40% decline in the animal’s population[/caption]
Conservation groups say the main threat to the animal’s survival is legal and illegal hunting for parts and trophies, as well as loss of habitat from human encroachment.
Bowing to pressure from activist groups, who have submitted multiple petitions for the giraffe to be listed as an endangered species, The US Fish and Wildlife Service took a major step in protecting the animals on Thursday.
In a statement, the group announced that they will be conducting an official review of the situation to decide whether or not the animal should be protected by law.
They said: “The service finds that the petition to list the giraffe presented substantial information on potential threats associated with the development, agriculture and mining.”
“Giraffes have been undergoing a silent extinction without the public being aware of it”
Tanya Sanerib, the Centre for Biological Diversity
Conservation groups such as the Centre for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defence Council and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have been fighting to protect the giraffe for years, submitting petitions to the group since 2017.
After the The US Fish and Wildlife Service failed to consider the latest petitions within its stated 90-day review period, three organisations filed a lawsuit against the group to pressure the organisation to take note.
The Independent reports that the group’s review of the animal’s situation could take up to 12 months, after which they will announce whether or not the species will be listed as endangered.
Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Centre for Biological Diversity, said that giraffe have been undergoing a “silent extinction without the public being aware of it”.
Last year, two subspecies of giraffe were listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as humans encroached on their habitat.
The Kordofan and Nubian subspecies are found in East, Central and West Africa were listed as “critically endangered” while the Horn of Africa species was listed as “endangered”.
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In the IUCN’s categories, after “vulnerable”, “endangered” and “critically endangered’” comes “extinct in the wild” and “extinct”.
The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species is “the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species”.
Giraffe’s have already disappeared from seven countries: Eritrea, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Malawi, Mauritania and Senegal.
African hunting tools made from giraffe legs are common and a threat to the animal’s survival[/caption]
Two subspecies of the animal were listed as ‘critically endangered’ last year, but now the whole species is under threat[/caption]
There are now just 97,000 of the wild animal left in the world[/caption]
Activist groups believe that hunting and humans encroaching on the animal’s habitat are the main threats to the giraffe’s survival[/caption]
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