Giraffes must be listed as endangered conservationists formally tell US

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Conservationists have lodged a formal request for the US government to list giraffes as endangered in a bid to prevent what they call the “silent extinction” of the world’s tallest land animal.

A legal petition filed by five environmental groups has demanded that the US Fish and Wildlife Service provide endangered species protections to the giraffe, which has suffered a precipitous decline in numbers in recent years.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which listed giraffes as a threatened species in December, just 97,500 of the animals exist in sub-Saharan Africa today, a drop of almost 40% since 1985. There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa.
Giraffes have suffered from loss of habitat, disease and illegal hunting for bushmeat. They also face the risk of collisions with vehicles and power lines. But the petitioners argue that the species is facing added pressure from “trophy” hunters who travel to Africa to shoot their big-game quarry. These hunters overwhelmingly come from the US.

According to the groups’ analysis of import data, Americans imported 21,402 bone carvings, 3,008 skin pieces and 3,744 miscellaneous hunting trophies from giraffes over the past decade. At least 3,700 individual giraffes are thought to have been killed for such items.

An endangered species listing would place heavy restrictions on any American hunter wishing to travel to Africa and bring back a slaughtered giraffe. A hunter would have to somehow demonstrate the taking of the giraffe trophy was helping sustain the species.

The petition states that the US is “uniquely positioned to help conserve these tall, graceful and iconic animals”.

It adds: “Considering the ongoing threats to giraffes and their small remaining populations, now is the time for Endangered Species Act protections for this seriously and increasingly imperiled species.”

The plight of giraffes, which have necks as long as six feet and tongues that reach 20in, has caught some conservationists by surprise. The peril faced by the animals has somewhat been overshadowed by the poaching crisis engulfing elephants and rhinos as well as high profile controversies such as the slaughter of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist in Zimbabwe in 2015.

But recent surveys have painted a stark picture of decline for giraffes, which now live in increasingly fragmented habitats. The role played by trophy hunters was highlighted in August when pictures emerged of a 12-year-old girl from Utah posing beside the slumped body of a dead giraffe.

“When I was doing research on giraffes in Kenya a few years ago, they were quite abundant and no one questioned that they were doing well,” said Jeff Flocken, North America regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw).

“Only recently have we looked at them critically and seen this huge drop, which has been a shock to the conservation community. This is an iconic animal and it’s in deep trouble.”

Flocken said while the US could not do much to prevent the killing of giraffes in Africa, the regulation of trophy imports would be a “significant” step in stemming the decline of the species.

“In the past few years, several gruesome images of trophy hunters next to slain giraffe bodies have caused outrage, bringing this senseless killing to light,” said Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist with Humane Society International.

“Currently, no US or international law protects giraffes against overexploitation for trade. It is clearly time to change this. As the largest importer of trophies in the world, the role of the United States in the decline of this species is undeniable, and we must do our part to protect these animals.”

In September, genetic research revealed that there are four distinct species of giraffe, not just one as long believed. However, the endangered species petition requests protection for all giraffes regardless of sub-species.

The Fish and Wildlife Service deemed the African lion to be endangered in 2015 in an attempt to conserve the species. Donald Trump’s sons, who are avid hunters, have been pictured holding parts of an elephant and a leopard. However, the process of listing endangered species has not been altered under the new administration.

Under federal rules, the Fish & Wildlife Service has 90 days to respond to the petition and determine whether a listing may be warranted. It can then take more than a year to assess and decide upon the request.
 
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I came across this and thought you all might be interested. I've been weighing the pros and cons of trying for a Giraffe on my first hunting trip and this, sadly, makes me think if I ever want one I might have to scrape up the funds this time around or forever do without.
 

broncolcj

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1. They have NOT "only recently" looked at them critically. They have been planning something like this for years.

2. If they do get a listing for the southern giraffes there will be a mass cull wherever they are on private land. They are badly overpopulated on many ranches and conservancies.
 

Spooksar

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Once again a bunch of anti's spouting drivel, yes there is a problem with a decline in some areas in others they are overpopulated. By putting a overall ban on Giraffe hunting there is more harm then good done.
 

rookhawk

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Other than the impala, the giraffe was the most common game animal I saw in the Zim/Bots border region.

Sport hunting isn't the problem, they are over abundant in many areas. The issue is habitat loss. No amount of hunting bans will make the giraffe global population grow because hunting isn't the problem that needs fixing.
 

CAustin

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I have sen plenty of them on every hunt!
 

sonnyn913

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I had decided a few months ago that this would be my year for giraffe, I am glad I am going for it this year, there may not be a next year for giraffe the way they make it seem.
 

CAustin

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I had decided a few months ago that this would be my year for giraffe, I am glad I am going for it this year, there may not be a next year for giraffe the way they make it seem.

Pieter has some good ones just down from the main lodge Sonny! Ask him!
 

wesheltonj

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Posted this about a year ago that they were setting this up, and now it's here. The plus side is the Trump administration, I hope will take a harder look then Obama administration did.
 

enysse

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Trump has not help anything on the African front yet................

He may not allow any more restrictions but he isn't lifting anything either which bothers me. It's still early in the Presidency.
 

johnnyblues

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Let's give him a chance. After all he has a lot on his plate. Let's hope USFW puts someone in charge who is pro hunting and will use scientific facts! Not Public pressure.
 

huntinlabs

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Has anyone heard any more news on this? I went on my first hunt last month and as you can see from my reports and my avatar I killed a giraffe. This has me worried I may not get permits or whatever else I might need in time to bring it back (having the taxidermy done over there). I have been looking for updates for this all day and cant seem to find any?
 

LivingTheDream

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Has anyone heard any more news on this? I went on my first hunt last month and as you can see from my reports and my avatar I killed a giraffe. This has me worried I may not get permits or whatever else I might need in time to bring it back (having the taxidermy done over there). I have been looking for updates for this all day and cant seem to find any?

You should be fine. I was able to bring a lion I shot preban in the country post ban. So I think you are more than in the clear.
 

huntinlabs

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Btw awesome giraffe!

Thank you giraffe has been my dream animal since I was 13. It was a bittersweet moment for me when I pulled the trigger. Instantly I felt regret but then it was overpowered by joy. I told the PH (a very close friend of mine) I didn't know if I should cry or be happy since my emotions were all over the place. He left me for 10 minutes to be alone with him and really soak it all in. I will never forget that day.
 

tarbe

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Thank you giraffe has been my dream animal since I was 13. It was a bittersweet moment for me when I pulled the trigger. Instantly I felt regret but then it was overpowered by joy. I told the PH (a very close friend of mine) I didn't know if I should cry or be happy since my emotions were all over the place. He left me for 10 minutes to be alone with him and really soak it all in. I will never forget that day.

There are two animals in Africa that I think might make me conflicted as well..Giraffe and Elephant. Part of me very much wants to hunt each of them.

Part of me fears that I may well regret it.

Maybe I'll just have to hunt Buffalo twice! No conflict there!
 

huntinlabs

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There are two animals in Africa that I think might make me conflicted as well..Giraffe and Elephant. Part of me very much wants to hunt each of them.

Part of me fears that I may well regret it.

Maybe I'll just have to hunt Buffalo twice! No conflict there!

There you go lol. I was conflicted only immediately after I pulled the trigger. I'm not sure if it was because it was a giraffe or if it was because I accomplished my dream. Honestly it was probably a combination of the 2.
 

Bill Bunn III

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It amazes me how these anti's can be so stupid and spread outright lies. It also amazes me how the general public just believes whatever is put out there. You would think that someone with half a brain would realize that the decline in the giraffe population is due to loss of habitat and not the number of them being hunted. I guess I am just preaching to the choir here and the anti's have there heads so far up there ..... That they will never see the light.
 

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