The population of giraffe in sub-Saharan Africa saw a confusing drop of 40% in the last 30 years. Mostly it is caused by trophy hunting coming from America.
With only 97,500 of the tallest and gorgeous animals in the world remaining, now conservationists insist that the government of the United States should officially put giraffes in the list of endangered species so to prevent the silent and fast extinction.
Over the last ten years, the Americans have imported about 21,402 carvings on the bone of giraffe, 3,008 pieces of skin, and an additional 3,744 varied hunting trophies. All these are souvenirs that cost the lives of 3,700 giraffes.
Together with the recreational processes of hunting, these animals also face other problems such as losing their habitat, poaching, and collisions with power lines and cars.
Classifying giraffes in the group of endangered species means that when a hunter travels from America to Africa, as most of those recreational hunters are Americans, he will have to prove that his hunting had some conservational aim before he brings the hunted giraffe to his state.
In the last several years, illegal hunting crises which targeted elephants, gorillas, and rhinos overshadowed the giraffe declines.
As some groups about the environment focused all the efforts on such causes, it looks like there was not much attention put on the seriousness and importance of the giraffes’ threats of extinction. Currently, the officials are in shock as they realized that there is a smaller number of giraffes than one of the elephants wandering in the African fields and plains.
Jeff Flocken, the regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare of North America, said that when he was researching giraffes in Kenya, several years ago, they were abundant and people were not asking if they were doing well. However, they saw a profound drop recently. This drop of giraffes’ population was a great shock for the community of conservators. Giraffes are iconic animals, and they are in great trouble.
Images that the trophy hunters shared on the Internet were the thing that made people refocus on the protection of these long-necked graceful creatures.
For example, in August, there was a picture of a little girl hunter at the age of 12 holding the slumped head of one dead giraffe. That picture caused a firestorm on social media platforms.
This photo horrified a lot of environmentalists. However, some Americans also applauded about the hobby of the young girl. Since that time, the girl gained more than 50,000 followers on social media.
The environmentalists are urging that there is a necessity of governmental regulation.
Masha Kalinina, a specialist at Humane Society, said that right now, there is no international or US law that is protecting this animal for extinction. This is the time to make some changes. Being the biggest trophies importer, the leading role of the USA in the decreasing number of giraffes is undeniable. So, she said, they have to do their part to protect them.
Last year in April, five groups have joined together to file one legal petition with the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States to afford giraffes the classification of endangered species. The organization has 90 days to respond, even though the affording status process may take more than one year.
Image Credit: Shutterstock (licensed by IBMN)/By ChelseaDav