Giraffe numbers are plummeting across Africa. Populations have fallen from an estimate of close to 140,000 in 2000 to just under 80,000 giraffes today, a rapid drop of about 40 per cent. Over one million roamed Africa less than 150 years ago.

As a species, giraffes were listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list of threatened species in Dec 2016. In 2018, two subspecies, the Kordofan giraffe and the Nubian giraffe were added to the list of critically endangered for the first time.

A major review by IUCN of the conservation status of giraffes as a whole and each of the nine subspecies is almost complete. There are many more elephants (450,000) and they are listed as Vulnerable on the African continent. Experts say that giraffes are not getting the attention they deserve.

Learn More About Giraffes

Watch and share our film, Giraffes:The Forgotten Giants! If you'd like to learn more about John Doherty and Jacob Leaidura's work (featured in our doc) visit the Reticulated Giraffe Project. For more on Dr. Zoe Muller's work (featured in our doc) visit the Giraffe Research and Conservation Trust.

For general information: African Wildlife Foundation, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Rothschild's Giraffe Project and the Giraffe Conservation Alliance. All do public awareness and research about giraffe conservation.

Help Protect Giraffe Habitat

As the human population increases, giraffe numbers decline as their habitat is lost. Giraffe need big, unbroken spaces — up to 130 square km — to roam for their preferred food, acacia leaves. They need to eat about 34 kg of leaves and shrubs a day.

Organizations like African Wildlife Foundation teach farmers sustainable agriculture and have reforestation programs to replant trees.

Help Put An End to Poaching and Trophy Hunting

Poaching is a big problem for giraffe and currently on the rise in Tanzania, Kenya and Congo. Giraffe are easy to shoot and their tails are highly prized in African cultures as ceremonial fly whisks. Some herbal medicine practitioners tout the myth that giraffe marrow and brains are a way to protect people from HIV/AIDS which means that giraffe heads can fetch a high price at local markets. Their meat is sweet and popular so they are often sold as bushmeat.

Trophy hunting of giraffes is still allowed in countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nambia. In August 2015, Sabrina Corgatelli sparked a firestorm of protest when she posted defiantly posted photos of herself next to a giraffe she had killed on her Facebook page.

To learn more about the efforts to end to wildlife poaching, trophy hunting and ban the trade in rare-species trafficking visit: Stop the Hunt and Stop Trophy Hunting Giraffes.

Get Involved

You can Adopt a Giraffe. Or travel to Africa as a volunteer or intern to experience life on a wildlife conservation project.

There's a World Giraffe Day on June 21 to celebrate with others or follow @Save_Giraffe on twitter for news related to giraffes.

The Wild Canadian Year

Wild Canadian Year


Visit our website to watch the series online, discover extra behind-the-scenes stories and view Canada's nature scenes in 360. Visit Wild Canadian Year

From CBC Kids

The Nature of Thingies