Masai giraffe now one step closer to extinction after poachers wipe out half the population

Poaching and illegal wildlife trading is a multi-billion-dollar business but is pushing many wildlife species to the brink of extinction.

Already some species of elephant, rhinos and tigers are on the endangered list due to poaching but now a subspecies of giraffe has made the list.

The Masai giraffe is the largest species of giraffe and can be found in East Africa. Over the last few decades its population has halved due to poaching and loss of habitat.

Masai Giraffes Declared Endangered After Poaching Halves Population
Matthew Smith/Flickr

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced the giraffe was now on the endangered list.

There are now only 35,000 Masai giraffes left, the population has decreased by 50 percent over the last three decades. At the same time Africa’s entire giraffe population has fallen by 40 percent, according to National Geographic.

The species, which can be found in Kenya and Tanzania, is hunted for its hide, meat, bones and tail and in some communities their tails are considered a status symbol.

‘Devastating news’

Despite hunting being illegal in Kenya and Tanzania an estimated 2 to 10 percent of the population is hunted, according to National Geographic.

Masai giraffes are iconic, says Tanya Sanerib, international legal director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

“This was devastating news…It really sounds the alarm bell,” she told National Geographic. “It really indicates that we need to be doing more for giraffes internationally and with whatever tools are available.”

Vulnerable creatures

Julian Fennessy, co-director and co-founder of the nonprofit Giraffe Conservation Foundation, said not enough emphasis has been placed on these vulnerable creatures.

“They’ve sort of slipped away, sadly, while more attention has been given to elephant, rhino, lion, and other species,” he told National Geographic.


This is another example of how some people are abusing our beautiful planet and the all the creatures that have a right to live on it, safely.

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