In Africa, there are less than 80,000 giraffes. That is 60,000 less than the 140,000 recorded 15 years ago. Poachers and bush meat hunters are blamed for this rapid decline of number.
“Many of the threats to rhinos and elephants are the same for giraffes,” Dr Noelle Kumpel, from the Zoological Society said. “The threats are local. It’s loss of habitat and increasingly it’s poaching, but not for the international trade, its bush meat hunting. There’s a difference between poaching for elephants and rhinos for example. But with increasing social problems like poverty or the displacement of people, it is becoming more prevalent. In some parts of Africa bush meat are part of the staple diet of some, but really this is a bigger issue of food security.”
Giraffe meat is said to be sweet and is popular amongst the locals. Some traditional healers even sell giraffe meat, bones and brains as a cure for HIV/AIDS. This further fuels the illegal trade.
Giraffe’s prominence in zoos has disguised the fact that there is very little conservation effort made for them.