Speed Reads

A sad day

New report suggests giraffes are 'vulnerable' to extinction

The world's giraffe population might be nearing its last legs. A new Red List — a log of species facing the threat of extinction — released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revealed the world's tallest animal is now "vulnerable" to extinction, Time reported Thursday. Per NPR, that means the giraffe is "facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future."

Over the last 30 years, the global giraffe population has declined by 38 percent. As of last year, the giraffe population in southern and eastern Africa totaled 97,500 — a big drop from the 157,000 giraffes that roamed the Earth in 1985. The report blames humans for the long-necked animal's demise, citing "illegal hunting and destruction of the giraffe's habitat to make way for agriculture and mining operations" as leading causes of the drop-off, Time noted.

"Whilst giraffes are commonly seen on safari, in the media, and in zoos, people — including conservationists — are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction," said Julian Fennessy, co-chair of an IUCN group specializing on giraffes and okapi. "It is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late."