When you think of Africa, the long-necked, gentle giraffe is probably not far from your mind. While they may seem plentiful, giraffe are facing an uncertain future with a 40% decline in the last 30 years. They are now listed as vulnerable.
In light of the threat to one of Africa’s most charismatic species, you can support Dr. Julian and Stephanie Fennessy founders of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation an Australian couple who moved to Namibia to ensure the survival of the world’s tallest animal.
Photo by Billy Dodson
Giraffe Conservation Status
Latest estimates by GCF and IUCN indicate that giraffe numbers have plummeted across Africa by ~40% to <100,000 individuals in the past three decades. This is due to a number of factors including habitat loss, habitat degradation and habitat fragmentation coupled with human population growth and illegal hunting (poaching).
At the same time, limited conservation efforts and research have been undertaken on giraffe across Africa. Giraffe, as a species, have been uplisted to ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in December 2016.
This new conservation status assessment of giraffe as a species was submitted by the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group with the support of GCF and other partners. Updated assessments for most of the nine currently recognised subspecies are currently under review by the IUCN and updated status assessments are expected to be released in mid 2017.
To develop a baseline, GCF has compiled historical and current data on giraffe numbers, distribution and threats from across their range in Africa into giraffe conservation country profiles per range state. This work has been undertaken collaboratively with African governments, NGOs, Universities, IUCN and independent researchers. The analysis of the data does not only support the first-ever detailed Red List assessment of giraffe and most of their subspecies, but will hopefully aid in the compilation of the first-ever detailed reports on giraffe conservation status in Africa.
This programme has the potential to provide an important framework and the necessary base for all future giraffe research and conservation management to be conducted in the wild.
Giraffe are an important icon of Africa (and the world) and as such are a key tourism attraction and an economic draw card for Africa. This collaborative effort continues to improve our understanding of giraffe as a keystone species and ensures their long-term success in the wild.