Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Conservationists Ask Giraffe Be Protected

credit: Giraffe Conservation Foundation
A coalition of five major conservation groups including NRDC and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the US Fish & Wildlife Service for protection of the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  Giraffe numbers have plummeted in recent years due to habitat fragmentation, and human predation.  Their petition notes that a significant portion of the giraffe's decline can be attributed to the importation of body parts and trophies into the United States--a minimum of 20,000 bone carvings alone were brought into the US between 2005 and 2016.  The agency has ninety days to determine if the petition contains substantial scientific or commercial basis for granting the requested determination.   The process for listing a species is a lengthy one that allows for public discussion of the issues involved.  Of the nine subspecies of giraffe, four are decreasing in number and four are increasing, but the overall trend, should present pressures persist, is downward.  In 1985 there were an estimated 150,000 giraffes in Africa, that number is down to 97,000 currently.