Giraffe species ‘at risk of extinction’ as numbers plunge

Rob Waugh
It’s one of the world’s most recognisable animals (Getty)

Some subspecies of giraffe are now at risk of extinction, as the numbers of the animals have dropped 40% in the last 30 years.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species listed the Kordofan and Nubian giraffes as ‘critically endangered’ for the first time.

Other subspecies are listed as endangered or vulnerable.

In 2016, the IUCN listed the giraffe as ‘vulnerable’, largely due to human activity.

The IUCN cited human activity such as agriculture and mining, as well as illegal hunting and civil unrest, as factors driving giraffes towards extinction.

Rothschild’s giraffes have seen their fortunes improve (Joe Giddens/PA)

Julian Fennessy, Director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, said: ‘Whilst giraffe are commonly seen on safari, in the media, and in zoos, people – including conservationists – are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction.’


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‘While giraffe populations in southern Africa are doing just fine, the world’s tallest animal is under severe pressure in some of its core ranges across East, Central and West Africa.’

‘It may come as a shock that three of the currently recognised nine subspecies are now considered ‘Critically Endangered’ or ‘Endangered’, but we have been sounding the alarm for a few years now.’

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