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Giraffes facing 'silent extinction' as population drops by 30%

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Who doesn’t love giraffes? With their beautiful print, comedic necks and weird as hell tongues, they truly are nature’s gentle giants. But sadly, due to poaching, habitat loss and civil unrest in parts of Africa, the giraffe could soon be extinct.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the numbers have dropped significantly in the last 30 years, falling from 155,000 in 1985 to 97,000 in 2015, leading the group to change the status of the animal from “least concern” to “vulnerable” after numbers dropped from 30% over three generations.

Dr Julian Fennessy, a giraffe specialist within the IUCN, told BBC News that: “Their numbers have been plummeting...In these war torn areas, in northern Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia in the border area with South Sudan, essentially the giraffes are war fodder, a large animal, extremely curious that can feed a lot of people.”

However, there is some glimpse of hope. While some researchers agree that it’s not possible to save some local populations of giraffes, conservation ares could protect the long-necked mammal.

Chris Ransom from the Zoological Society of London stated: “South Africa is a good example of how you can manage wildlife, there is a lot of moving of animals between different conservation areas, it is a very different scenario than in most of the rest of Africa. I think giraffes can survive, with the right conservation efforts, and we can ensure that the animals do live in the wild. There are a lot of cases of success in conservation. The giraffes could be one."

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