Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Is This Rare Giraffe Almost Extinct?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Is This Rare Giraffe Almost Extinct?

Article excerpt

Only 38 Kordofan giraffes remain alive today.

Originally ranging through Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Sudan, the remaining Kordofans are now sequestered in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Garamba National Park. Approximately 350 Kordofans roamed the DRC only 20 years ago, but the numbers plunged to 86 by 2003 and then decreased to only 38 in 2016.

Local poachers are said to be responsible for depleting the once prolific populations.

A single giraffe can produce up to 660 pounds of meat, and priced at 30 pounds per pound, one giraffe can produce quite a paycheck. Especially in a country where the gross domestic product per capita measured $231.51 in 2012 - the worst in the world. And the skin of the Kordofan giraffe has distinctive spots, typically fetching a higher price tag on the luxury goods market.

"At the moment the ratio is one male to 2.4 females, which is still sustainable," Aime Balimbaki, the head of research and monitoring at Garamba National Park, tells the Sunday Express. "But if we have bad luck or if there is a serious menace - even if we lose just five giraffes - then the population may no longer be viable."

As of Sunday, a petition to President Barack Obama titled "Save the Last 38 Giraffes in Congo" had received over 28,400 signatures.

"[The Congo's] government likely cannot take on the additional expense of saving the last of its giraffes," reads the petition. "They need other nations to step up and provide conservationists with the money for better security against poachers, tracking collars, and other equipment they might need to track these wandering animals. The United States often helps other nations in times of need."

Wildlife advocates hope the petition will raise awareness about the giraffes' shrinking population.

"It is heartbreaking that this has not gained the media attention it so deserves," says the UK-based charity Spots and Stripes. …

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