World Giraffe Day
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
by Natalie Rico
Today the world celebrates the noble giraffe – the world’s tallest mammal. There is one species of giraffes with approximately nine subspecies. It’s legs, which average about 6 feet in height, are taller than most humans. Giraffes are native to the dense forests and open plains of Africa. They can reach 18.7 feet in height from the ground to their horns. Giraffes roam the open grasslands in Africa, eating leaves from tall trees with their long necks. They tend to travel in groups of approximately six giraffes. A group of giraffes is called a journey or a tower.
i. Conservation Status
Giraffes are classified as Vulnerable by International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (“IUCN”) Red List of Endangered Species. A vulnerable species is one considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. Giraffes are vulnerable because their population has declined by 40% over the last 30 years, with only 68,000 left in the wild.
ii. Why Are Giraffes in Decline?
The IUCN lists four main threats to this species: habitat loss, civil unrest, illegal hunting, and ecological changes (climate change and habitat conversion). Giraffes are also subject to poaching and wildlife trafficking on the international market. Giraffes are killed for their meat, hide, and tails, which are prized by many African cultures. Among other things, giraffe tails are used to make bracelets, believed to bring good luck. Additionally, the giraffes’ habitat has been experiencing a continual reduction due to the expansion of human settlements, agriculture, and the expansion of infrastructure, such as the building or roads. There has been extensive deforestation in order to build ranches and farms. Africa is also home to a booming charcoal industry. Many Africans make a living harvesting trees and burning them to create charcoal, which results in massive destruction of giraffes’ habitat.
iii. How to Protect Giraffes
In order to protect vulnerable giraffes from extinction, it is essential to cease the practices that are threatening them, namely, poaching and deforestation. Success has been seen through the education of communities living near giraffes on the importance of sustainable practices for agriculture and settlement expansion. It is also critical to enact legislation to protect these beautiful creatures and their current habitat on both national and international levels. Finally, it essential to assist our partner organizations in Africa to obtain the resources they need to protect giraffes against poaching,
Today, on World Giraffe Day, as always, Reclaimed Earth is dedicated to spreading awareness regarding the current state of giraffes and the opportunities available to provide necessary aid to ensure the species' survival.