Giraffes In Neck-Deep Trouble: Iconic Animal In Danger Of Getting Extinct, Warns Report

By Shubham Ghosh - 10 Dec '16 09:21AM

We all had been hearing a lot of tigers disappearing fast from this planet. But now, reports have started surfacing about giraffes - the world's tallest animal - becoming vulnerable to extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), giraffes' number has dwindled fast - about 40 percent in the past three decades - an announcement which is certainly going to make the environmentalists a worried lot.

The union takes care of a 'red list' of species which includes the conservation status of over 85,000 species and aims to track 160,000 species, threatened or not, for the purpose of creating a 'barometer of life'. The list has categories like least concern, near threatened, threatened, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild and extinct.

The IUCN has recently removed the tall animal from the 'least concern' category into the 'vulnerable' one, taking into account the huge decrease in its population. While giraffes numbered over 150,000 in 1985, now their count has come down to be below 100,000 - 97,500 to be precise.

The reason for the alarming decline in the giraffe population is again the same: the growing human population. Illegal hunting of giraffes and their loss of habitats because of expanding agriculture and mining, etc. have taken a heavy toll on the animal's population. Of the nine sub-species of giraffes, five have witnessed a fall in population, the IUCN said.

A major reason why the giraffes are feeling threatened is their native, Africa, is seeing a huge rise in population. According to a report of the United Nations released in 2015, more than half of the global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to happen in Africa (1.3 billion out of 2.4 billion) and that would have an adverse impact on the giraffe population.

David Banks, regional director for the Africa Region with Nature Conservancy, said there is still hope if the countries begin to plan for the explosion in population from now on.

He said: "If you can save some of the last big wild areas in Africa that are important to giraffes and elephants, the [human] population will eventually plateau and start to decline, so if we can save the big places now we can get through that bottle neck, and the future beyond that plateau is a very hopeful one for people and wildlife."

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