When someone talks about the endangered animals of Africa, we immediately think about rhinos, elephants, and lions. However, there is one animal that almost everyone forgets. This iconic African giant has been flying under the radar for many years now in terms of decreasing population, but they are in need of our help as much as any other threatened species.
There were around 140,000 giraffes in Africa in 1999. Fast forward to today, the population has fallen to an estimated 80,000. That is a 40% drop in just the last 15 years. Sadly, it hasn’t gained much attention.
THE SILENT EXTINCTION
Human population is growing, and it is inadvertently declining the population of the world’s tallest mammal. Denser human population means more settlements, roads, and destruction of the giraffe’s natural habitat and main source of food, the acacia tree. Much of giraffe habitat has been used for agricultural purposes lately. This robs them of their homes.
Poaching is also another big problem that giraffes in Africa face. They are an easy target and are very popular amongst those who are looking for a quick reward. Some of them are slaughtered for their meat and hides as well. The tail of a giraffe is used to make bracelets, fly whisks, and thread – it is a highly-valued commodity in many African cultures. Some people in Tanzania even believe that consuming giraffe brains and bone marrow acts as a cure for HIV.
Those who think there is an abundance of giraffes roaming in the wild in Africa, couldn’t be more wrong. Giraffes has been the victims of poaching and habitat fragmentation as much as other African wildlife. Unfortunately, they get very little attention in the media. Let’s hope we can focus on them before it’s too late!
PROTECT AFRICAN ANIMALS FROM POACHERS
“Non-governmental organizations, like the International Fund for Animal Welfare, are stepping in to help overwhelmed and underfunded governments when it comes to poaching regulations. IFAW has supported specialized anti-poaching training, and works with local agencies to promote training efforts and other initiatives to reduce illegal trade of animals on a continent-wide basis.”
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