Due to American trophy hunting — giraffes may be closer to extinction than we think.
The American tourists have been credited with the 40% drop in the giraffe population of sub-Saharan Africa, compared to the population recorded in the last decade.
Only 100,000 giraffes are said to be remaining.
Multiple environmentalists have urged the United States to declare that giraffes are an endangered species to prevent them from going totally extinct.
In the last ten years, 21,402 giraffe bone carvings have been said to be imported to the United States, along with 3,008 pieces of skin as well as 3,744 other additional hunting trophies.
It was also estimated that 3,7000 giraffes were slain by trophy hunters in the last decade.
“When I was doing research on giraffes in Kenya a few years ago, they were quite abundant and no one questioned that they were doing well,” regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Jeff Flocken, shared with the Guardian.
“Only recently have we looked at them critically and seen this huge drop, which has been a shock to the conservation community. This is an iconic animal and it’s in deep trouble.”
A specialist with the Humane Society, Masha Kalinina also agreed, sharing with the paper:
“Currently, no US or international law protects giraffes against overexploitation for trade,” she said.
“It is clearly time to change this. As the largest importer of trophies in the world, the role of the United States in the decline of this species is undeniable, and we must do our part to protect these animals.”
Now, a collective of wildlife charities have started to draft up legal proceedings against the Trump administration to force their hand to help save giraffes from extinction.
The Centre for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, Humane Society of the United States as well as Natural Resources Defence Council have each filed a federal lawsuit.
They claim the government did not respond to a petition that reached the federally-mandated limit that the government must respond to.
“The Trump administration would rather allow its rich donors to mount giraffe trophies on their walls than protect giraffes,” said deputy director of the Natural Resources Defence Council’s Wildlife Trade Initiative, Elly Pepper.
“Giraffes are headed toward extinction, in part due to our country’s importation of giraffe parts and trophies. It’s shameful – though unsurprising – that the Interior Department has refused to protect them under the Endangered Species Act, and I hope the courts will agree.”
Other solutions according to the Africa Wildlife Foundation include educating local communities in conservation. This will help those who reside near giraffes understand the sustainable methods for both agricultural and settlement growth.
In addition, the Africa Wildlife Foundation believes reforesting key areas will help provide more food to the giraffe (specifically acacia tres in West Africa) to allow it to expand its habitat.
If you feel led to help save the giraffes from possible extinction today, you can chose to donate here.
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