What are the parameters that influence giraffe population decline in Africa and which solutions are practicable?

Giraffes are internationally popular in zoos and represent an emblem of the ecosystems and countries in which they live. However, despite this iconic status, giraffes are relatively poorly studied and there is a general lack of knowledge on the key factors affecting their demographic rates. In the last thirty years, giraffe populations across Africa have declined by 40%. However, this demographic decline is not homogeneous across the African continent. According to the latest IUCN red list, the nine subspecies of giraffe do not all have the same conservation status. The latter are divided into five different categories, ranging from "least concerned" to "critically endangered". This configuration reflects the complexity of considering a global conservation for "the giraffe" as a species. In order to better understand what solutions could be practicable for a sustainable conservation of giraffe subspecies across Africa, this literature thesis seeks to identify the threats to giraffes as well as comparing diff rent protected areas and their efficiency regarding giraffe conservation. The results of this research show that although the reasons of the current giraffe population decline are multitudinous, anthropogenic factors appear to be the fundamental cause. As Africa is undergoing a continuing population growth, anthropogenic pressure on giraffe populations is likely to increase in the coming years. This situation will probably give more importance to protected areas, becoming the only safe habitat for giraffes. However, we found drawbacks in protected areas, which are actually a closed nature and should therefore not be seen as a sustainable solution for giraffe conservation. As a compromise, we propose to find inspiration in existing cases where giraffes have remained numerous in the wild over the last decades.

Last Updated
February 8, 2021