The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) conducted a report revealing that the overall giraffe population has dropped by more than 40 percent over the past 15 years.
Kathleen Garrigan, senior communications officer for the African Wildlife Foundation, told Scientific American:
“While there are warnings and alarm bells ringing about the imminent extinction of the African elephant as a result of the poaching crisis — a situation not in any way to be minimized — there are an estimated 450,000 African elephants compared to 80,000 giraffe,”
Giraffes are not currently listed as an endangered species, however, at this rate of population decline it could be listed as one in the not so distant future.
The organization says that the problem could be “silent extinction” because of the lack of public awareness, which revolves around African elephants, rhinos and gorillas, according to Mother Nature Network.
MNN says that the giraffe population is in danger because of habitat destruction by humans taking over their land for agricultural uses, in addition to being hunted for their durable, patterned skin.
The reason why this problem has been overlooked is likely because of a longstanding belief that giraffes are abundant, and a lack of data proving otherwise.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. student Megan Strauss told the New York Times in October:
“When I first became interested in giraffes in 2008 and started looking through the scientific literature, I was really surprised to see how little had been done,”
”It was amazing that something as well known as the giraffe could be so little studied.”
The full GCF report will be published next year.