Weekly Current Affairs

Notice

Giraffes, rarer than elephants, put on extinction watch list

  • Because the giraffe population has shrunk nearly 40 percent in just 30 years, scientists put it on the official watch list of threatened and endangered species worldwide, calling it “vulnerable.”
  • In 1985, there were between 151,000 and 163,000 giraffes, but in 2015 the number was down to 97,562, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The giraffe is the only mammal whose status changed on the list this year.
  • While everyone worries about elephants, Earth has four times as many pachyderms as giraffes.
  • Shrinking living space is the main culprit in the declining giraffe population, worsened by poaching and disease. People are moving into giraffe areas especially in central and eastern Africa. Giraffe numbers are plunging most in central and eastern Africa and are being offset by increases in southern Africa.
  • This has fragmented giraffe populations, making them shrink in size with wild giraffes gone from seven countries Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Guinea, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal.
  • The IUCN says 860 plant and animal species are extinct, and another 68 are extinct in the wild. Nearly 13,000 are endangered or critically endangered.
  • The status of two snake species worsened. The ornate ground snake, which lives on the tiny island of Saint Lucia, deteriorated from endangered to critically endangered.
  • The Lacepede’s ground snake of Martinique, which was already critically endangered, is now considered possibly extinct, pending confirmation, as is the trondo mainty, a river fish in Madagascar.
  • The Victoria stonebasher, a freshwater fish in Africa, went from being considered endangered to least concerned with a stable population. An African plant, the acmadenia candida, which was declared extinct, has been rediscovered and is now considered endangered.
  • Another freshwater fish, ptychochromoides itasy, which hadn’t been seen since the 1960s, has been rediscovered in small numbers in Africa’s Sakay River and is now considered critically endangered.