The giraffe, the world’s tallest animal is commonly seen on safari, in zoos or playing a key role in kids TV series. My little boy used to be a fan of Sophie the Giraffe when he was a baby. “Sophie” helped him cope with teething and he loved his spots and gentle looK.
They are majestic and awesome living creatures, perceived as gentle and peaceful animal. Today, giraffes are suffering a shocking decline in numbers, with 40% lost in the last 30 years. Numbers have gone from around 155,000 in 1985 to 97,000 in 2015 according to International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The giraffe, is now on the official list of animals that could face extinction in the future.
What is so special about Giraffes?
Giraffes are the world’s tallest animal with an average height of around 5 m (16-18 ft.). They are gentle and timid and live in loose social groups.
Long legs, long neck, and beautiful spotted pattern that we all love. Giraffes live in savanna areas in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. They live up to 25 years in the wild. They eat leaves and shoots, and love acacia trees. Their long tongues are helpful in eating because they help pull leaves from the trees.
When giraffes walk they dance, moving both legs on one side of their body and then both legs on the other side. They can reach 55 km/h (35 mph) at full speed.
Female giraffes can become pregnant at 5 years old. They carry a baby for 15 months and give birth while standing up. Babies’ giraffe are about 2 m (6 ft.)
Do you know that they sleep less than two hours a day? Yes, two hours a day with their feet tucked under them and their head resting on their hindquarters. Wow impressive right !!!
Why Giraffes could face extinction in the future?
The IUCN report highlights the negative impact due to a illegal hunting, habitat loss, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest.
Their homes have become damaged by human activity: roads, agriculture, mining and fences. The rapid growth of human populations has seen the expansion of farming and other forms of development that has resulted in the fragmentation of the giraffe’s range in many parts of Africa. Few populations left and isolated becoming more vulnerable to deforestation, poachers, and troops who see giraffes as military rations.
“As one of the world’s most iconic animals, it is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late.” says co-chair of the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, Julian Fennessy.
Giraffes can survive, with the right conservation efforts. As example Niger did so in the 1990s, when there were just 49 giraffes in all of West Africa. As a result, the population has since rebounded to 450, and these giraffes live in peaceful proximity to human villagers.
Perhaps after knowing the giraffe’s decline in silence, will finally make people move and take some measures. This is not only about giraffes it is about our world, ecosystem and wonders.
Let’s finish this post with a quote to think about the tallest magnificent. The beautiful giraffes!
“These little marks here are tears,” she said. “The giraffe gives its tears to the women and they weave them into the basket.” Alexander McCall Smith, Tears of the Giraffe
Sources and More information