The population of the world’s tallest land mammal is shrinking. Over the last three decades, giraffe numbers have dropped 38 percent — from 157,000 in 1985 to an estimated 97,500 in 2015. This decline led the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2016 to heighten giraffes’ conservation status from “least concern” to “vulnerable.” More recently, IUCN uplisted multiple giraffe subspecies even further: The Kordofan and Nubian giraffes, who together have around 4,500 mature adults, are now classified as critically endangered, while the reticulated giraffe is classified as endangered.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (or CITES) is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from August 17-28, 2019. African Wildlife Foundation’s Vice President, Species Conservation and Science Dr. Philip Muruthi has attended every meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES since 1997. He explains why bringing together wildlife range States, wildlife conservation organizations, and community groups from across the world is so important for the sustainable conservation of Africa’s wildlife species.
Large predators are returning to Kenya’s Soysambu Conservancy after historical displacement by livestock ranching. This is thanks to the growing zebra and buffalo populations found in Soysambu, allowing it to act as a critical dispersal area for lions from neighboring Nakuru National Park. Thriving populations of impala, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, reedbuck, steenbok, and klipspringer form the key prey base for the burgeoning leopard population.
Driven by international poaching syndicates as well as local bush meat hunters, the illegal killing, trading, and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products keep African species at risk. Learn from Didi Wamukoya, African Wildlife Foundation’s Senior Manager, Wildlife Law Enforcement, why the continent needs watertight investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial processes — coordinated across regions — to adequately protect its wildlife.
Unlike the slaughter of elephants and rhinos by poachers, the collapse of Africa’s giraffes has been quiet and overlooked. In only 30 years, continental numbers have plummeted by 40 percent. Recent population and distribution assessments of some subspecies paint a grim picture. Both Kordofan and Nubian giraffes were just upgraded to a critically endangered status on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species — altogether only approximately 4,650 mature individuals survive.