Monday 17 November 2014

Giraffes are increasingly in the poachers sights

The Tanzanian national animal, the Giraffe, is increasingly becoming endangered as poachers have now turned their attention to the species.

The biggest ruminant and the tallest mammal, the Giraffe has the honour of featuring on the prestigious court of arms of several governmental institutions and the Tanzanian currency.

In 1998 the IUCN estimated the total number of Giraffe in Africa to exceed 140 000. By 2012, it was estimated that they had dropped to fewer than 80 000 individuals; indeed, in some areas traditionally regarded as prime giraffe real estate, numbers had dropped by 65 per cent.

There are nine subspecies, the commonest in East Africa are the Reticulated Giraffe and the Maasai Giraffe. Reticulated Giraffes are found in Kenya North of the Tana River, Ethiopia and Uganda. The numbers of these have dropped from 28000 in 1998 to about 4700 today.

Maasai Giraffes are found throughout the rest of Kenya and Tanzania and are the most numerous subspecies, with about 37000 left. Still a very low number.

Giraffes are now on the receiving end of poachers bullets with their illegal slaughter becoming more widespread in various parts of East Africa.

There is a pervasive rumour that the marrow from the thigh bone of a Giraffe is a cure for HIV, and this is fueling the killing. The meat is also in demand by the bushmeat trade.

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