Why Giraffes Should Be Classified As Endangered
Giraffes have faced great threats in the past few decades, and are being pushed rapidly toward extinction.
From poaching and habitat loss to climate change, giraffe populations have been in decline since the 1990s, the American Wildlife Foundation reports.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, less than 69,000 mature giraffes remain in the wild, 40% fewer than 30 years ago. And Americans have played a big role in those plummeting numbers.
Products made from giraffe skins and bones are flooding into the United States, The Animal Reader reports.
According to The New York Times, the United States is a top importer and seller of giraffe parts, including heads, feet, tails, legs, and skins. This greed has also led to rampant trophy hunting and poaching of giraffes all across sub-Saharan Africa.
Conservationists and related organizations have been pushing to increase giraffe protections for years.
In 2016 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed giraffes as “vulnerable” to extinction and classified two giraffe subspecies as “critically endangered” in 2018 and two more as “endangered” in 2018 and 2019.
In 2019, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) began regulating international trade in giraffes by requiring export permits, The Hill reports, to which the U.S. agreed to comply.
In April 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, and the Humane Society of the United States filed a petition to request giraffe protections, but the agency missed the legal deadline for a decision.
The U.S. government is now considering extending protections of the Endangered Species Act to giraffes, bringing imports of giraffe parts down and saving countless giraffe lives, World Animal News reports. However, the decision deadline is not until 2024.
“This is a crucial step for giraffes, whose populations are dwindling while products made from their skins and bones flood into the United States,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This agreement was desperately needed to help give everyone’s favorite long-necked mammal a shot at federal protections. But during an extinction crisis, it shouldn’t take litigation to get action under the Endangered Species Act. We should be racing to save every species we can.”
It may be too late for the giraffe if action is not taken immediately. We must encourage the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to act quickly before the iconic species’ numbers dwindle beyond recovery!
Click below and help us ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service list giraffes under the Endangered Species Act now!
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