What We Need to Do to Save Giraffes Before They Go Extinct
December 13, 2018
Standing between 15 to 20 feet, giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals. Their legs alone can reach over six feet. Giraffes live in harmony and serve a vital role in ecosystems. More facts:
- Giraffes are vegan. With their long necks, they consume leaves, flowers, and fruits that are out of reach for most grazing animals.
- As plants and fruits pass through their digestive systems, they spread seeds that allow plants to germinate.
- Giraffes hosts ticks, providing food for tick-eating birds. The birds in turn help giraffes by removing the pests.
- Giraffes eat more than 100 pounds of leaves per week, traveling far distances to find food. As social animals, they travel peacefully in large herds of mixed ages and genders.
- Giraffes can spot predators such as lions and hyenas from far away, so many animals use giraffes as their early warning system. When giraffes start running away, other animals take note and flee.
- While a giraffe’s long legs and neck help it spot danger on the African Savanna, its height also makes it a noticeable target for predators, including lions, leopards, hyenas and crocodiles.
- The giraffe’s number one predator? Humans!
That’s right. Habitat and food loss, civil unrest, illegal hunting, and human-caused climate change are causing today’s 40% decline in giraffe populations. Today, giraffes are listed as vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Here’s what we need to do to protect giraffes:
- Educate all people on how and why to protect giraffes
- Support sustainable agriculture and settlement practices near giraffe habitats
- Reforest key areas with acacia trees that provide giraffes’ main food source
- Stop the poaching of giraffes for their tails, considered status symbols
- Solve hunger in areas like Sudan where impoverished villagers eat giraffe meat
- Reverse climate change that’s causing rising temperatures and widespread drought in Africa
We’re working to save giraffes as part of our Earth Day 2019 campaign to protect our species. Your support will help us save giraffes and other species and you can sign up for email updates on our Earth Day 2019 plans.