While it is difficult to quantify the real effects of poaching on giraffe populations, what is clear is that the bushmeat trade is thriving globally and it is highly likely that giraffe are affected by this trade.
Rowcliffe et al. (2010) estimate that 273 tonnes of bushmeat is imported into Europe alone from Africa each year (Kinver, 2010) and many other reports highlight the current thriving levels of trade in wildlife meat and skins (Born Free, 2004; Yee, 2007; Bobek, 2009; Mwenja & Kariuki, 2009).
Caro (2008) reported that giraffe represent 25% of all species poached in western Tanzania. While itis unlikely that this figure is representative for the rest of Africa, it does highlight (along with the numerous anecdotal reports) that giraffe poaching is occurring. Reviews of the literature fail to uncover specific reports of giraffe meat presence in African markets, but this is probably due to the limitations of the survey techniques employed rather than an absence of giraffe meat itself.
So in conclusion, giraffe poaching is occurring and is wide-spread across Africa but quantifying levels of this activity and the resulting affects on population trends remains a huge challenge. Until we have a better way of measuring the extent of giraffe poaching we cannot assess the trade’s impact on the continuing decline of many giraffe populations across Africa.