Tags: giraffes | extinction | hunters | poachers

Giraffes' Extinction by Hunters and Poachers Slow, Unnoticed

Image: Giraffes' Extinction by Hunters and Poachers Slow, Unnoticed
(Meng Chenguang/Xinhua/Landov, file)  

By    |   Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 09:36 AM

With no current efforts to protect them like for lions and elephants, giraffes could be facing a slow extinction as the quiet animals become targets for poachers and bush meat hunters.

Conservationists told The Independent that the giraffe population in Africa has fallen by as much as 40 percent in the last 15 years, dropping the population to fewer than 80,000.

"Giraffe numbers across their range are plummeting with a few exceptions," Julian Fennessy, executive director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, told newspaper.

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation said giraffes can live for 25 years. Its predators include lions, hyenas, leopards, wild dogs and crocodiles, but it's humans that have taken giraffes down to extinction levels.

"This is a considerable drop in the last decade and shows that the plight of giraffe is in real danger," said a statement on the foundation's website. "Efforts are underway to build up an accurate census of the entire population. … With the exception of Angolan, Cape and West African giraffe, all other subspecies are either decreasing and/or unstable. Poaching, human population growth, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and habitat degradation continue to impact on the giraffe's distribution across the continent."

Conservationist told The Independent that locals are hunting the usually docile giraffes for their flesh and that poachers are selling giraffe heads for high prices. Some Tanzanians believe that the bone marrow and flesh from giraffe can actually cure AIDS.

"Many of the threats to rhinos and elephants are the same for giraffes," Noelle Kumpel of the Zoological Society of London told the Daily Mail. "The threats are local. It's loss of habitat and increasingly it's poaching, but not for the international trade, it's bush meat hunting."

Since giraffes are docile, poachers see them an easy source of meat, said Kumpel.

"Traditionally they get caught in snares by the poorer local people just looking for food," said Kumpel. "But those hunting higher profile animals have the firearms and automatic weapons which make it simple to kill the noticeable giraffe."

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With no current efforts to protect them like for lions and elephants, giraffes could be facing a slow extinction as the quiet animals become targets for poachers and bush meat hunters.
giraffes, extinction, hunters, poachers
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2014-36-04
Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 09:36 AM
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