In response to recent scientific consensus on giraffes’ vulnerability to extinction, five wildlife protection groups today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect Earth’s tallest land animal under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The legal petition, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Natural Resources Defense Council, seeks “endangered” status for the species.
Giraffes are facing threats from habitat loss, bushmeat hunting, and the international trade in bone carvings and trophies. Africa’s giraffe population has plunged almost 40 percent in the past 30 years and now stands at just over 97,000 individuals. Based upon our work and the work of all the giraffe scientists in the world, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently uplisted the Red List giraffe status from ‘least concern’ to ‘vulnerable to extinction’, and this Endangered Species Act listing will establish legal protections to control the market for giraffe parts in the USA.
The Endangered Species Act is one of the world’s strongest and most effective environmental protection laws and has been instrumental in protecting wild natural habitat for rare species and averting extinctions. As a professional conservation biologist, I believe we must make use of every possible tool in our efforts to preserve the ecosystems that support all life on Earth. The Endangered Species Act is one important tool that will regulate the trade in giraffe parts and bring attention to the giraffe’s precarious situation.