The distribution of the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta Thomas 1898) has greatly diminished in West Africa, and now the last remaining population, reduced to less than 100 individuals, is found in Niger. These giraffes of West Africa are seriously threatened by extensive deforestation and clearing of their habitat. They live peacefully with humans and cattle and participate in an essential way in the dynamics of vegetation. Their disappearance would represent another step towards the impoverishment of the inheritance of Africa, a process already too far advanced. To save them, a fundamental rethinking of the connection between the environment and development on the one hand, and on the responsibilities of rural communities for the management of their natural resources on the other, has to be undertaken.