Giraffes in their natural habitat in Africa are facing extinction. Their numbers are being reduced dramatically and a major effort has been put in place to protect them. Giraffe poaching is on the rise adding to the threat to the species. There are several reasons why these animals are being hunted and why their numbers are dwindling. Hunters are another factor in this serious situation. Many countries that were of the natural habitats for giraffes and where they roamed free no longer have a population. Scientists have initiated a protection program with set procedures to control this continuing threat to the existence of the animals. Park authorities in several countries are working with conservation organizations to protect the species. Educating the public and getting support to protect the giraffe is a main focus for governments, park authorities, conservation organizations and scientists. There are ways that Milwaukee residents can help protect the giraffe before they become extinct in the wild.
Human encroachment is one threat to the giraffe as the human population increases the giraffe’s habitat decreases. Cities are expanding and agriculture is growing to fit the needs of the people taking the land from the giraffe. Roads and cultivation cut into their territory cutting down the acacia trees which are the giraffe’s main food source.
Aside from the expanding human population is the threat from poachers. In studies done in many of the African countries the population of giraffes have fall forty percent in the past fifteen years. Today the population is fewer than 80,000 giraffes in all of Africa leaving three of the nine subspecies with a total number of less than 1000 animals. The biggest problem is found in Tanzania, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tourist and trophy hunting are a main source of income for many of the African nations and there is an increased interest in hunting giraffe. Most hunters come from Europe and America paying a trophy fee, the cost for guides, trackers, food and lodging and travel expenses. A hunt can last three to five days and take home a photo, the skin or a taxidermy mounted head. Leaving the giraffe population in jeopardy. The latest statistics show the number of giraffes from 1988 to the present has fallen from more than 140,000 to less than 80,000.
Scientists, animal advocate organizations and governments have mounted new programs to protect the giraffe. There are nine known species and tracking collars will help to learn more about the animal which has not been documented. There is little known as to the number of species, their territory and their habits.
Milwaukee area residents can contact the Milwaukee County Zoo for more information.