Monday, 8 December 2014

Conservationists Warn That Giraffes Are Facing Extinction

December 6, 2014

Brett Smith for – Your Universe Online

With many conservation campaigns focused on big cats or elephants, some threatened large mammals have invariably fallen between the cracks.

One of those mammals appears to be the giraffe, as according to some leading conservationists – the iconic animal is more threatened than people realize.

“The numbers have gone down from 140,000 to fewer than 80,000 today,” Julian Fennessy, executive director of the Giraffe Conservation Research group, told ABC News reporter Louise Dewast. “It’s a silent extinction.”

African elephants are often held up as a symbol for species conservation. However, recent research has indicated that there are currently about 450,000 African elephants.

Comprised of nine different subspecies, giraffes roam the grasslands and forests of 21 different countries. Different subspecies are divided up by their location, markings and genetics. While giraffes at-large haven’t been classified as endangered by major organizations, two subspecies have been classified as such by the IUCN Red List, arguably the world’s most prominent conservation organization.

West African giraffes, or Nigerian giraffes, are noted for spots that are much lighter than other subspecies. About 300 are currently surviving in Niger. Rothschild’s giraffes are known for the cream-colored channels, as opposed to whiter channels, that demarcate the orange patches on their skin. About 700 Rothschild’s giraffes are currently living in Uganda and Kenya.

Like many other animal species, giraffe populations are in decline due to habitat loss and dispersed populations as humans gobble up land for agriculture and settlement purposes.

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