Quick Decline of Giraffe Population

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Quick Decline of Giraffe Population

Goran Tomasevic

Goran Tomasevic

Goran Tomasevic

Molly Caldwell, Editor

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Giraffe numbers have decreased by nearly 40% after many years of habitat destruction and severe poaching, which lands them on the Vulnerable status in the Red List of Threatened Species report. According to Damian Carrington at The Guardian, in the past 31 years, giraffes population has dropped from 157,000 individuals in 1985 to 97,500 in the last count. This is a dramatic drop and giraffes could be completely extinct in the wild in the medium-term future.

Despite giraffes being prevalent in zoos, their decline is not surprising. According to African Wildlife Foundation, giraffes are poached for their tails which are prized by many African cultures. Giraffes are also easy to poach and are often killed for their only their tail. Giraffes are also losing their living spaces rapidly and according to AWF, “As human populations grow and increase agricultural activities, expand settlements, and construct roads, the giraffe is losing its beloved acacia trees, which are its main source of food.”

Giraffes are not the only ones in danger. Our natural world is falling victim to mass extinction due to land being turned into farmland, mines and pollution and poaching in large numbers. A major report done by the Living Planet Index warns that the earth is on track to lose ⅔ of vertebrate populations by 2020. So far, there has been a 67% decline since 1970. Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF, said: “The richness and diversity of life on Earth is fundamental to the complex life systems that underpin it. Life supports life itself and we are part of the same equation. Lose biodiversity and the natural world and the life support systems, as we know them today, will collapse.”

AWF solutions to the giraffes crisis in particular, is to educate local communities and to reforest areas. Through sustainable farming education and planting acacia trees, the giraffe population can be saved.

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