While many people know that June 21st is the longest or shortest day of the year (depending on the hemisphere in which you live), few know that it is also World Giraffe Day!
Not only is World Giraffe Day an opportunity to appreciate the longest-necked animal in the world, it is also a time to reflect on the the fact that the population of wild giraffes declined by between 35 and 40 percent between 1985 and 2015.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature the 97 000 giraffes that live in the woodlands, savanna and deserts of Africa face four main threats:
- Habitat loss caused by deforestation, conversion of land to other uses, increased farming and human population growth.
- Civil unrest, including ethnic violence, rebel militias and military operations.
- Illegal hunting.
- Ecological changes, such as mining, conversion of land to farming and factors related to climate change, such as drought.