(Vox) Giraffes are on a path to extinction
The world has lost a third of its giraffes since 1985
Giraffes — the world’s tallest animal — are vulnerable for extinction. Their population numbers have declined 40 percent in that past 30 years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said today in a troubling announcement.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature maintains a “red list” of species — a comprehensive global compendium of the conservation status of 85,604 species with the eventual goal of tracking 160,000 species, threatened and not, to create a “barometer of life” to track trends in biodiversity across the world. The list has seven categories, which ascend in terrifying order: least concern, near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild, and, finally, extinct.
In the new update to the list, the IUCN has moved giraffes from the category of “least concern” to “vulnerable,” citing massive population loss. (Vulnerable is defined as “facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future.”)
In 1985, giraffes — which are only found in the savannas of central, Eastern, and Southern Africa — numbered more than 150,000 individuals. Now, there are believed to be around 97,500.