One of the surprising articles I read last year discussed “silent extinction”, where animal populations decrease without much fanfare. How many people would have said giraffes were a vulnerable population before the release of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2016 report? I certainly never would have guessed it.
After all, giraffes are among the easiest animals to see on safaris. They don’t have many natural predators and their meat/skin isn’t prized by humans. Yet, the population has fallen from 157,000 to 97,500 in thirty years. Why? Environmental destruction, due to climate change and human interference (deforestation) is a major culprit. The giraffes also face a loss of habitat from encroaching human populations due to civil wars, drought/poor farming conditions, and human overpopulation.
For my aunt’s birthday, I fostered Kiko the giraffe from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. For a $50 fostering fee, she receives updates throughout the year on Kiko and his elephant friends. The money goes to support the Trust’s important work on the rescue and rehabilitation of animals and its mission to increase conservation awareness.
Photos: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust