World’s Giraffes Now Threatened with Extinction by Human Activities
A recent announcement by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reveals that the global population of one of the most majestic mammals, the giraffe, has plummeted by up to 40% over the last 30 years. The population of the iconic giraffe, one of the world’s most recognizable mammals, now falls below 98,000 worldwide.
According to the IUCN, the giraffe population is being pushed towards extinction by one very infectious species – homo sapiens. Activities such as “illegal hunting, expanding agriculture and mining, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest,” are all negatively impacting giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis) subpopulations, as well as okapi (Okapia johnstoni), which are part of the Giraffidae family.
It’s easy to become troubled about the potential extinction of a popular mammal that we’ve all know since childhood. Yet animals that we barely know to exist are faced with extermination before we know how to describe them. More than 1 in 10 of newly recognized bird species are also on the IUCN’s most-recent Red List of Threatened Species.
“As our knowledge deepens, so our concerns are confirmed: unsustainable agriculture, logging, invasive species and other threats – such as the illegal trade highlighted here – are still driving many species towards extinction.” ~ Dr Ian Burfield, BirdLife’s Global Science Coordinator
The planet’s wildlife and biodiversity are at stake. In addition to the giraffes living in many of the sub-regions of Africa, over 85,000 species of animals and plants are now on the Red List. Nearly 30 percent are threatened with extinction.
“This IUCN Red List update shows that the scale of the global extinction crisis may be even greater than we thought.” ~ IUCN director general Inger Anderson
Despite their iconic status, public affection, cultural and economic importance, and a role in the functioning of African ecosystems, the giraffe has received limited conservation attention and funding. Conservationists are hoping that it is not too late to reverse the effects of human encroachment, poaching, war and civil unrest. The IUCN and their partners are doing what they can to raise global and local awareness. Will their efforts be enough to save the giraffe before certain subspecies are lost forever?
About the Author
Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.
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