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Conservation Genomics of Two Threatened Subspecies of Northern Giraffe: The West African and the Kordofan Giraffe

Three of the four species of giraffe are threatened, particularly the northern giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), which collectively have the smallest known wild population estimates. Among the three subspecies of the northern giraffe, the West African giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta) had declined to 49 individuals by 1996 and only recovered due to conservation efforts undertaken in the past 25 years, while the Kordofan giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum) remains at <2300 individuals distributed in small, isolated populations over a large geographical range

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Whole-genome analysis of giraffe supports four distinct species

Species is the fundamental taxonomic unit in biology and its delimitation has implications for conservation. In giraffe (Giraffa spp.), multiple taxonomic classifications have been proposed since the early 1900s.1 However, one species with nine subspecies has been generally accepted,2 likely due to limited in-depth assessments, subspecies hybridizing in captivity,3,4 and anecdotal reports of hybrids in the wild.5 Giraffe taxonomy received new attention after population genetic studies using traditional genetic markers suggested at least four species.6,7 This view has been met

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