The Giraffe: A Silent Extinction.

The giraffe is in danger of extinction.
by Conservation Concepts

The numbers of giraffes in Africa are decreasing due to poaching, and loss of habitat due to over population. Several conservation outlets calculate that the African giraffe population has been decreasing over the past 30 years. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the number of African giraffes in 1985 was around 155,000; a count taken in 2015 has them at 97,000. Dr. Julian Fennessy, Executive Director of the Giraffe Conservation Research Group, told ABC News that the population today was fewer than 80,000. Some sub-species of the giraffe, such as Rothschild’s giraffes located in Uganda and Kenya have decreased to 700, and the West African in Niger have dwindled down to 300.


This has been called the “silent extinction” because global conservation efforts have been centered on the African and Asian elephants. A CNN report on September 1, 2016 indicated that there was an unprecedented  survey detailing the decline of the population of the African elephant which numbers were 10 million in 1979, and as of 2016, the African elephant had a population of 352,000. The African giraffe has a population of 80,000 – 97,000. 


Besides lack of attention over declining population, loss of natural habitat has severally damaged the numbers for the giraffe. Trees have been cut down. Land has been taken for farming, as well as infrastructure. Along with civil wars in African countries like Sudan, parts of Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, the giraffe is an easily targeted food source; in 2010, there were even reports that in some places in Tanzania, it was believed the brains and bone marrow of this animal was a cure of HIV/AIDS.


Due to the downward spiral of the giraffe population in countries such as Niger and Kenya, laws are being passed to protect the animal. Conservation efforts by groups like The Giraffe Conservation Foundation use information and education to help the local population in hope to help preserve the animals and increase the population.  In September of 2016 the IUCN passed a resolution calling for action and attention for the plight of the giraffe. They have also moved the giraffe from Least Concerned to the Red List. 


For Additional Information: 

International Union for the Conservation of Nature

Giraffe Conservation Research Group