By Kareen Liez E. Datoy
In 1999, there were around 140,000 giraffes but today, there are only an estimated number of 80,000 giraffes left in Africa.
Africa has added another animal to its list of endangered species, as the population of giraffes is declining with a 40 percent drop in the last 15 years.
While there were around 140,000 giraffes in 1999, there are currently only an estimated 80,000 giraffes left in Africa, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
The extinction is linked to the growth in the human population, as more settlements and roads are created that caused destruction of the animal's natural habitat and main source of food: the acacia tree.
A large portion of giraffe habitat is currently being used for agricultural purposes, depriving them of their homes, The Rain Forest Site reported.
Poaching remains a huge problem in Africa and includes giraffes as victims. Those who engage in this illegal form of hunting aim to acquire their meat and hides. The tail of a giraffe is a prized commodity for many African cultures and is used to make bracelets, fly whisks and thread.
Some people in Tanzania consume giraffe brains and bone marrow, believing that it could cure HIV. This adds to the giraffe's value for poachers, who are earning up to $140 per piece.
A widespread misconception that giraffes are roaming everywhere in Africa isn't true because they are subject to the same poaching and habitat fragmentation.
If no action is done now, these gentle giants will make their way towards extinction.