One of the largest subspecies of giraffes is now endangered

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the population of Masai giraffes has fallen by 50% in the last three decades.

By STEPHANIE WASSERMAN
July 30, 2019 05:37
1 minute read.
Mesmerizing: Giraffe in a game reserve north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Mesmerizing: Giraffe in a game reserve north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. (photo credit: BENITA LEVIN)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on the conservation status of wildlife, announced recently that Masai giraffes are now endangered due to poaching and land use throughout Kenya and Tanzania.

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the population of Masai giraffes has fallen by 50% in the last three decades, leaving only 35,000 remaining in the wild. Africa’s overall giraffe population has decreased by nearly 40% in the same time frame.

Two of the nine subspecies of giraffes, the Kordofan and Nubian, have been listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. However, the Masai giraffes’ dramatic population drop in the last few decades as one of the largest subspecies has earned it a place on the endangered list, and is a critical threat to giraffes as a whole, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Giraffes overall are classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN red list, just one step before endangered.

National Geographic reported last week that threats to giraffes are primarily caused by humans. Though hunting giraffes is illegal in Kenya and Tanzania, they are poached for various body parts. According to the IUCN, an estimated 2% to 10% of the population is hunted illegally every year in Serengeti National Park.

Human population growth has also contributed to the increase of giraffe deaths, as expansion into the wild has led to crop damage and vehicle accidents.


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