Did you know there are now fewer giraffes than there are elephants in Africa? And that they have gone extinct in 7 African countries? While the world has quite rightly been focusing on the plight of elephants and rhinos at the hands of poachers, it seems that giraffes have been forgotten about. If something isn’t done now, then soon enough the world’s tallest land mammal will no longer exist.
Who or what is to blame?
Sadly you probably already know the answer to this. Some giraffe deaths are caused by accidents, such as being electrocuted by power lines, or being hit by vehicles. But as usual the overwhelming reason for the crisis facing this species is abhorrent human behaviour. Giraffes find it much harder to survive when their habitats are destroyed, and although it is illegal, they are often hunted for their meat. However, the most overwhelming cause of the decline in giraffe numbers is due to the actions of so called “trophy hunters”, who take a perverse pleasure in travelling to Africa to shoot animals, many of which are endangered. These hunters are mostly from the USA, like dentist Walter Palmer, who caused outraged when he killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe in 2015. Some other well- known fans of killing endangered creatures are Donald Trump’s sons, who love to pose with the animals they have killed, in a sick display of what they see as dominance over a majestic creature. When it fact, all it displays is a sociopathic lack of empathy.
What can be done?
The situation for giraffes is now so dire, a group of conservationists has petitioned the US government to list giraffes as an endangered species. They say this is an attempt to stop the silent extinction of these animals. If their plea to the US government is successful, it will make it much harder for US citizens to “trophy hunt” giraffes. There are currently no laws in place in the USA or any other country to protect giraffes, so getting these animals onto the endangered species list in the USA is paramount if we want to prevent these animals being hunted into extinction.
The government department which decides on these matter in the USA is The Fish and Wildlife Service but unfortunately they can legally take 90 days to respond, and a very long time to make a decision. There is also the very real problem that the USA now has a president who clearly doesn’t prioritise the plight of endangered species. His attitude to the actions of his sons is testimony to that.
What can you do?
If you live in the USA, contact your representative and urge them to take this matter seriously
If you live outside of the USA, it is vital you tell your government to take action on the plight of giraffes
Share this story far and wide on social media to raise awareness