Giraffes are headed for extinction after experiencing a 40 percent decrease in their population during the past 30 years.
Africa’s wild giraffe is in the process of a “silent extinction” after the world’s tallest animal saw a dramatic decline in number, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s latest “Red List” of endangered species, CNN reported.
According to the list, the number of giraffes has dropped to just over 97,000 last year, compared with some 163,000 in 1985.
The conservation group reported that the drop is due to “habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting.”
“Illegal hunting, habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest are all pushing the species towards extinction,” the group said, according to ABC News.
“Whilst giraffes are commonly seen on safari, in the media and in zoos, people – including conservationists – are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction,” said Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, per the Daily Mail.
“With a decline of almost 40 percent in the last three decades alone, the world’s tallest animal is under severe pressure in some of its core ranges across East, Central and West Africa,” Fennessy said. “As one of the world’s most iconic animals, it is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late.”
Giraffe’s aren’t the first species to experience a decline like this over the years.
Around the world, more than 850 plant and animal species have already gone extinct, while another nearly 70 aren’t found in the wild, ABC News noted.
“Many species are slipping away before we can even describe them,” IUCN Director General Inger Andersen said. “This IUCN Red List update shows that the scale of the global extinction crisis may be even greater than we thought.”
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