African Giraffe ‘Silent’ Extinction

December 7, 2014 • Daily Email Recap

African Giraffe ‘Silent’ Extinction: How Disappearance Of World’s Tallest Animal Went Largely Unnoticed

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Africa’s giraffes are on a slow march toward extinction due to the pressures of poaching and habitat loss, conservation experts have warned. Illegal hunting and human population growth have reduced the overall African giraffe population by roughly 40 percent over the past 15 years, according to the latest data revealed this week by the Namibia-based Giraffe Conservation Foundation.


And until recently, hardly anyone had noticed. Unlike the plight of some of Africa’s other iconic wildlife, like the mountain gorilla and the rhino, the giraffe’s decline has happened largely off conservationists’ radar. “It’s a silent extinction,” Julian Fennessy, executive director of the conservation group, told ABC News. In some countries, only a few hundred giraffes remain. The group’s full report is expected to be published next year.


The wildlife group found that there were 140,000 giraffes in Africa in 1999. Today, there are fewer than 80,000, according to the foundation. In Niger, less than 300 West African giraffes – one of the continent’s nine subspecies of giraffe – have survived. Fewer than 700 Rothschild’s giraffes exist between Uganda and Kenya. Two giraffe species have already been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of endangered species. The new figures could push other subspecies onto the list.

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