Giraffes Are Facing 'Silent Extinction' And We Need To Act Now
A dramatic drop in giraffe populations over the last thirty years has seen the world's tallest land mammal classified as vulnerable to extinction and now, conservationists are preparing to launch an urgent bid to save them.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cities) starts this weekend, where representatives of nations from all over the world will meet to discuss ways to regulate trade in products from giraffes, as well as other endangered species whose numbers have plummeted.
The meeting comes in the wake of a major UN-backed global assessment of nature which warned around one million species are at risk of extinction including giraffes, jaguars and Asian otters, and they blame hunting and international trade as the biggest culprits.
Representatives from the Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal will all be in attendance.
Back in 2010 giraffes were listed as species of 'least concern' on the 2010 International Union For Conservation of Nature's red list, but numbers have fallen by up to 40 per cent over the last 30 years due to threats including trading, illegal hunting, civil war and habitat loss. Now conservationists say they are facing a "silent extinction".
"It is important that giraffes are listed by Cities because currently we can't say for certain how much of their huge population decline is due to trade," said Matt Collis, director of international policy at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
"We do know it is a significant factor though as the only country that currently collects data on trade in giraffes, the US, has reported almost 40,000 giraffe items traded in a decade, from 2006 to 2015."
Other proposals at Cities include regulations on the international trade in new species of sharks to improve management of fisheries which catch tens of millions of sharks a year to supply demand for fins and meat, as well as the trade in ivory and rhino horn.
There will also be discussions over elephants as several African countries seek changes that will allow them to sell their ivory stocks in order to further support conservation.
"The threat that sharks and rays face from the shark fin trade are now so severe that the future survival of many species hangs in the balance as nations prepare to gather at the Cities wildlife conference."
Let's hope they find a solution fast!
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