Masai Giraffe


Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. tippelskirchi
Conservation status: ENDANGERED
Population: 35,000 (DECREASING)
Artist: Jackson, NAC Nkiri Primary, Kenya
Project: Where Did All the Animals Go? 2021


Many people, including conservationists, remain unaware that the world’s tallest animal is experiencing a silent slide towards extinction

Giraffe numbers plummeted by a staggering 40% in the last three decades, and less than 100,000 remain today. There are nine subspecies of giraffe. Three subspecies are Critically Endangered or Endangered (IUCN Red List). Those subspecies in East, Central, and West Africa are faring particularly poorly: the Kordofan and Nubian giraffes, with respectively 2,000 and 2,645 individuals remaining, are now just one stage from extinct in the wild. There is reason for hope. In the past few decades, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation pulled the West African giraffe back from the brink of extinction.


Habitat loss and fragmentation due to human population growth are the main threats to giraffes in the wild, although civil conflict, hunting for their meat, pelt and tails, and environmental conditions like severe drought can also pose risks. Giraffes are also exploited in zoos and circuses. Wild giraffes are specialised herbivores, roaming over large expanses, so being confined in small enclosures can lead to extreme frustration and boredom. Captive giraffes often exhibit abnormal behaviours such as repeatedly twisting their necks or licking the bars of their cage. Information credit: Born Free Foundation