One Less Giraffe In The World Is Not A Good Thing

A slightly worried giraffe realises there are less giraffe around her

Illustration ©Ken Wilson-Max 2018

There is a photo of an American woman called Tess Thompson Talley posing with the dead body of a giraffe on social media. She made the kill in South Africa in 2017 and wrote;

“Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today! Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite awhile.”

Can you defend that action?

She defended her actions, saying that the animal was old and not that rare. There are quite a few people who agree support with her on Twitter, too. But for those of us who love them, one less giraffe is a tragedy.

Hunting a giraffe is allowed in South Africa if its been paid for and arranged with a game park, so perhaps she believes has a reason to be proud- she paid good money to hunt and kill this animal even though there are less than 100,000 left on the planet.

Giraffe are listed as Vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Here is a breakdown of how many are left, courtesy of the Giraffe Conservation Fund

52,050 Southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa) 

13,050 Angolan giraffe (G. g. angolensis) 

39,000 South African giraffe (G. g. giraffa) 

5,195 Northern giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) 

2,645 Nubian giraffe (G. c. camelopardalis) 

2,000 Kordofan giraffe (G. c. antiquorum) 

550 West African giraffe (G. c. peralta) 

8,700 Reticulated giraffe (Giraffa reticulata) 

32,500 Masai giraffe (Giraffa tippelskirchi) 

Where's the respect?

Most people are outraged an upset at such a cold and cruel act. But isn't selling the opportunity to kill the giraffe is just as cold and cruel? So far, farms, game parks and businesses which sell the right to humans to kill animals haven't been criticised. Animal rights are man-made and therefore don't really offer much protection for wild life. If they were updated, though, trophy hunting or tourism that involves killing animals might just be seen differently.

Its 2018, and people are still killing animals for fun

Hunting is very big business in Africa and it is claimed, helps with animal conservation. It is hard to know how much if this claim is true because no one has tried not hunting animals as a way of helping animal conservation. The safari hunting industry has operated for more than a century and is worth over $2 billion dollars. This is how it works:

A safari operator buys hunting rights from a government. The Government game managers make a list of a number or quota of animals they are allowed during the year. The quota is based on the government knowing how many animals there are, so will not affect the overall animal population.

The safari operator advertises to clients willing to pay for the right to hunt and kill there. Soon more more people like Tess Thompson Talley pay their money, arrive, hunt and kill the animals. The dead animal, or carcass is then butchered and preserved (or stuffed) to be sent back to the hunter's trophy room.

We researched a few websites and found that person can kill a giraffe in South Africa for between $3,000-$12,000.

Some of the money goes back to support continued game management, national park operating costs, conservation programs and local communities. It sounds logical, until you start to treat the animals as living beings. Then it sounds weird and cruel and a bit old fashioned. Less giraffe means less giraffe!

The gentle giants

Giraffe are the tallest animals in the world- up to 18 ft., or 5.5m.

A giraffe's heart weighs almost 35 lb. (17 kg).

Giraffe bulls weigh about 2,600 lb. (1,200 kg) and females about 1,750 lb. (800 kg).

Despite how they look, Giraffe have a powerful kick that can kill, if they need to defend themselves.

World Giraffe Day is on 21 June.

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