Giraffes suffer a “silent extinction” caused by illegal hunting and expansion of farmland in Africa according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature latest report.
NAIROBI, KENYA (REUTERS) – Giraffe numbers have declined by as much as 40 percent since the 1980s in a “silent extinction” driven by human causes, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported on Thursday (December 8).
The Red List of endangered species complied by the IUCN moved the giraffe to the category “vulnerable” to extinction for the first time, against a previous rating of “least concern”.
Populations of the world’s tallest land creature fell to about 98,000 in 2015 from an estimated 152,000-163,000 in 1985, according to the List compiled by the IUCN.
The IUCN said the plunge in numbers in large parts of sub-Saharan Africa had gone largely unnoticed.
Giraffes are at risk due to growing human population leading to more illegal hunting, damaging civil unrest, loss of habitat and changes through expanding agriculture and mining the IUCN said.
With land scarcity near most of national parks in Kenya, developers are slowly invading areas set aside for wild animals resulting to human wildlife conflict.
Scientists in Kenya are fitting radio collars on most wildlife’s to help secure and monitor the “corridors” they use between national parks, part of a conservation drive that has seen some of the nation’s wildlife population double within the last 35 years.
U.N. studies say that man-made threats, led by the loss of natural habitats, may herald the worst extinction crisis since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago.