Scientists Declare One of Largest Giraffe Subspecies Endangered
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) concluded that Masai giraffes, which live primarily in Kenya and Tanzania, are endangered largely due to poaching and habitat loss.This was the first time the subspecies had been evaluated on its own, National Geographic reported.
Giraffes as a whole are classified as vulnerable, one step further away from extinction. Of the nine subspecies, two are critically endangered. One other, the Reticulated, is also considered endangered, according to Smithsonian.com. The listing of the Masai is significant because, at an estimated population of 35,000, it's one of the largest subspecies left.
"This was devastating news...It really sounds the alarm bell," Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) International Legal Director Tanya Sanerib told National Geographic. "It really indicates that we need to be doing more for giraffes internationally and with whatever tools are available."
BREAKING: Scientists have issued an alarming assessment of giraffes in Kenya and Tanzania, calling this key populat… https://t.co/2FV1lDt3p1— Center for Bio Div (@Center for Bio Div)1562864088.0
CBD is one of four environmental groups that has sued the Trump administration to add giraffes as a whole to the U.S. endangered species list in order to better regulate trophy hunting and fund conservation efforts. U.S. officials said this spring that giraffes may qualify for protection.
Overall, the population of Masai giraffes has fallen 49 to 51 percent in 30 years, while the population of giraffes as a whole has fallen by as much as 40 percent in the same time, according to a CBD statement.
"Masai giraffes have long had a robust wild population. An endangered assessment is an eye opener that signals the critical need for giraffe protections," Humane Society International Wildlife Programs and Operations Manager Adam Peyman said in the statement.
While it is illegal to hunt Masai giraffes in both Kenya and Tanzania, poaching has increased due to political instability and a growing demand for items like jewelry from giraffe-tail hair and bone carvings, according to National Geographic. Two to 10 percent of their population in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is hunted illegally each year. As human population expands into giraffe habitat, the animals have increasingly been struck by vehicles.
Despite their growing vulnerability, giraffes have received less attention than other iconic African mammals. Still, there are now fewer giraffes than elephants remaining on the continent.
"They're the forgotten megafauna, so to speak," Giraffe Conservation Foundation co-director and co-founder Julian Fennessy told National Geographic. "They've sort of slipped away, sadly, while more attention has been given to elephant, rhino, lion, and other species."
Masai giraffe numbers have dropped by approx 50% in the last 30yrs, they are now considered ENDANGERED by the… https://t.co/g9LzjJ037z— GCF (@GCF)1563265032.0
But Fennessy thought the IUCN status change might increase momentum behind conservation efforts.
"By identifying that they are endangered, hopefully now collaboratively with governments and partners, we can turn the tide before it's too late," Fennessy told National Geographic.
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
- Your Guide to Talking With Kids of All Ages About Climate Change ... ›
- 7 of the Best Ted Talks About Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
- Katharine Hayhoe Reveals Surprising Ways to Talk About Climate ... ›
An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.
<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="24c36ab7f041f96875677ba1e9dc1944"><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/CapeLookoutNPS/posts/3608024915884969"></div></div>
- 411 North Atlantic Right Whales Remain: This Solution Could Help ... ›
- Sixth North Atlantic Right Whale Found Dead Prompts Concern ... ›
- First North Atlantic Right Whale Calf of the Season Spotted off ... ›
By Andrea Germanos
A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."
- We Need a Green New Deal for Farmland - EcoWatch ›
- The Netherlands Can Feed the World. Here's Why It Shouldn't ... ›
- The Key to Saving Family Farms Is in the Soil - EcoWatch ›
- Urban Farming Booms During Coronavirus Lockdowns - EcoWatch ›
In yet another attack on the environment before leaving office, the Trump administration is seeking to transfer ownership of San Carlos Apache holy ground in Oak Flat, Arizona, to a copper mining company.
- Mining Giant BHP Pauses Plans to Blast 40 Aboriginal Heritage Sites ›
- Mining Company CEO Forced to Resign After Blasting of 46,000 ... ›
- Rio Tinto Blasted Away an Ancient Aboriginal Site. Here's Why That ... ›