Today marks World Giraffe Day, an occasion to recognize Africa’s rapidly disappearing giants.
Fewer than 100,000 giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) remain today, down from 140,000 just 15 years ago. Last year the IUCN declared the species vulnerable to extinction, but that doesn’t grant them any additional protection. That could come in 2019, when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species will finally take up the issue, or if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agrees to protect giraffes under the Endangered Species Act.
For now, however, giraffes continue to suffer from poaching, hunting, habitat loss and other threats.