Giraffes | Earth Day Network

Giraffes

Facts

  • Standing between 15 to 20 feet tall, the giraffe is the world’s tallest mammal.
  • While a giraffe’s long legs and neck help it look out for danger on the African Savanna, the giraffe’s height also makes it an easy target for predators.
  • Giraffe populations have declined from 155,000 in 1985 to 80,000 in 2018 according to the African Wildlife Foundation.  Of the nine giraffe subspecies, three subspecies have fallen below 1,000.
  • There are fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa.

Take Action: 

  • The U.S. is the number one importer of giraffe trophies and parts. There are no international treaties protecting giraffes. You can help by petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the giraffe as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  Take action to tell the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the giraffe as endangered.

Why They Matter

  • Giraffes inspire curiosity and amazement.  As one of the world’s most iconic species, giraffes drive ecotourism and conservation, benefiting wildlife beyond giraffes.
  • Giraffes live in harmony with other herbivores and serve a vital role in the local ecosystem. When plants and  fruits  pass through their digestive systems, they spread seeds and allow plants to germinate.
  • NASA scientists have researched the blood vessels of giraffe legs for ideas of how to create better space suits.
  • Because giraffes can spot predators, such as lions and hyenas, from far away, many animals use giraffes as their early warning system.  When giraffes start running away, other animals run too.

Threats

  • Habitat loss, civil unrest, illegal poaching and hunting, and climate change collectively contribute to the decline in giraffe populations.
  • Climate change and habitat loss have also contributed to the decline of the acacia tree, the main source of food for giraffes.
  • U.S. trophy hunters import at least one giraffe every day.
  • Giraffe tails and meat are considered status symbols.

How to Help