Giraffes disappearing in a "silent extinction" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Giraffes disappearing in a "silent extinction"

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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that giraffe numbers have declined by as much as 40% since the 1980's in a "silent extinction" driven by human causes.

The red list of endangered species complied by the IUCN  moved the giraffe to the category "vulnerable" to extinction for the first time, against a previous rating of "least concern".

According to the list compiled by the IUCN, populations of the world's tallest land creature fell to about 98,000  in 2015 from an estimated 152,000 to 163,000 in 1985.

The IUCN said the plunge in numbers in large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa had gone largely unnoticed.

It added that giraffes are at risk due to growing human population leading to more illegal hunting, damaging civil unrest, loss of habitat and changes through expanding agriculture and mining.

With land scarcity near most of national parks in Kenya, developers are slowly invading areas set aside for wild animals resulting to human wildlife conflict.

Scientists in Kenya are fitting radio collars on most wildlife's to help secure and monitor the "corridors" they use between national parks, part of a conservation drive that has seen some of the nation's wildlife population double within the last 35 years.

UN studies say that man-made threats, led by the loss of natural habitats, may herald the worst extinction crisis since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago.

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