A conservation assessment of Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa

Taxonomic notes: Currently, nine subspecies classifications have been proposed for Giraffe (Ansell 1972; Dagg & Foster 1982; Kingdon 1997; East 1999; Grubb 2005; Ciofolo & Pendu 2013). There is considerable uncertainty surrounding the geographic and taxonomic limits of all described subspecies (Fennessy et al. 2013). Furthermore, recent genetic work suggests that several subspecies may even represent distinct species (Brown et al. 2007). Globally, only the forms G. c. peralta from West Africa, which recent genetic evidence has confirmed is indeed distinct (Hassanin et al. 2007), and G. c. rothschildi have been assessed at the subspecies level. Giraffe taxonomy of the various populations in Africa has largely been reliant on the variation of pelage pattern and geographic range. However, this has long been inconclusive. Even advances in molecular methods have left many aspects uncertain, often because of limited sampling (Fennessy et al. 2013). A good knowledge of Giraffe genetics, however, is critical for their long-term sustainable management with an estimated population of less than 80,000 remaining in the wild. In particular, the taxonomic assignment and phylogeography of two populations in southern Africa, the South African Giraffe (G. c. giraffa) and the Namibian Giraffe (G. c. angolensis), remains uncertain. To resolve this and estimate the divergence times among Giraffe populations, an increase in sampling effort across this region as well as more broadly across Africa is very important (Bock et al. 2014). The South African, or Cape, Giraffe was formerly classified as G. c. capensis. In this assessment, we treat G. c. giraffa as a subspecies in southern Africa (Seymour 2001; Brown et al. 2007; Dagg 2014).

Last Updated
January 30, 2021
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