A close encounter with a tower – the fittingly collective term for a group of giraffes – is a highlight of any safari trip.
But it is one that could soon disappear, thanks to a repugnant but legal loophole in trophy-hunting laws.
Giraffe body parts are turned into handbags, rugs and even bracelets – shockingly found on sale in the UK and all over Europe.
Despite being on the Red List of Threatened Species, as just 97,000 survive, these majestic creatures are still being killed for sport by gruesome hunters who pose next to their slain bodies for selfies.
As a result, numbers of the world’s tallest land animal have plummeted by 40% over the past three decades, but there is little awareness of their plight.
There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa – a species almost obliterated thanks to the poaching trade.
While there are several reasons for their decline, including loss of habitat, disease and illegal hunting for bushmeat, the alarming rise in sickening trophy hunters, overwhelmingly from the USA, could wipe out the species.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) allows giraffes to be killed indiscriminately, with their carcasses exported as trophies.
Ironically, the United States is the only country with importing data available, showing nearly 40,000 giraffe “specimens” were shipped – including live animals.
Armed ‘tourists’ rampaging through the bush, killing animals for pleasure is repellent and all the more so when the species is under threat.
But this could all change at a meeting of CITES in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in May.
Key African ranger states want to outlaw the international trade in products derived from the creatures.
This should be the turning point in reversing the decline, but it has little chance of success without the support of the EU voting bloc – so far hesitant to back it.
Britain is well placed to lead on this with a long standing history of supporting animal welfare and conservation.
It will be interesting to see if Michael Gove will make a stand by joining the African nations in making sure giraffes are better protected.
Banning these products should not be a tall order.
Source link : https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/fewer-giraffes-elephants-left-africa-14214250
Publish date : 2019-03-31 21:10:00