A new report shows Giraffes to be on the verge of extinction.
Red list reports that giraffes are declining by as much as 40% since the 1980s, a case that is now being described as a ‘silent extinction”. This is reportedly being caused by illegal hunting and expansion of farmlands in Africa
Giraffe population stood at 152,000 – 163,000 in 1985 but has drastically reduced to about 98,000 according to the list compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
According to the report, which was published on Thursday, the silent decrease in the giraffe population led the Red List to rate the giraffe as vulnerable to extinction from a previous rating of “least concern”.
“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,” Julian Fennessy, an IUCN giraffe specialist, said in a statement.
Constant expansion of farmlands to feed a growing human population, in addition to giraffe meat-hunt in conflict areas in Africa have contributed to the decrease in the Giraffe population.
“People are competing for fewer and fewer resources and the animals are worse off … especially with civil strife,” Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the Red List, told Reuters. Drought and climate change are aggravating factors, he said.
Giraffes are not the only previously safe animals that has been classified as vulnerable to extinction, the African gray parrot, popular for its ability to mimic human speech, has also been rated as vulnerable.
Also 11 percent of more than 700 other species of bird were also found to be on the verge of extinction.
U.N. studies have projected a possible extinction crisis caused as a result of man-made threats, led by the loss of natural habitats. The UN believes this could possibly the worst extinction crisis since the dinosaurs were destroyed millions of years ago.