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As we reported yesterday, biodiversity is declining at a precipitous rate, according to a new report by scientists from across the globe produced for the United Nations. In an effort to save one of the most iconic species on the planet — the African giraffe — the Fish and Wildlife Service at the Department of Interior is considering listing them on the nation’s endangered species list, which would mean restrictions on their importation into the United States and would also make available small amounts of federal funding for giraffe conservation efforts. As a case study of the greater problem, the giraffe’s plight is telling. Numerous U.S. environmental groups, including The Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International and International Fund for Animal Welfare, petitioned the Trump Administration for the listing, and it has taken two years for the Administration to near a decision, meanwhile giraffes grow closer to extinction.
How much could the US endangered species listing help? A good deal. According to the groups’ petition, U.S. trade in giraffes is significant — between 2006 and 2015, 39,516 giraffe specimens, including dead and live animals, as well as their parts or derivatives, were imported into the United States, including 21,402 bone carvings, 3,008 skin pieces, and 3,744 hunting trophies.
Why This Matters: Human activity is causing a biodiversity loss crisis of massive proportions — and we need to turn the tide because our very existence depends on it. The plight of the giraffe is tragic, but as a symbol of the overall problem, it can play an important role in raising public awareness. Not to mention, that we here in the U.S. are a big part of the problem by fueling trade in this beautiful animal. So listing the giraffe as an endangered species in the U.S. is both a significant symbolic gesture to educate the public and important to demonstrate the U.S. as being a responsible steward of the planet.
By Patrick Ramage, Director – Marine Conservation, International Fund for Animal Welfare This World Whale Day, as whale-huggers and marine conservationists from Maui to Monterey, Monaco to Mombasa measure recent progress, there is much to celebrate. As we assess prospects for actually “saving the whales” in the 21st century, there is also much cause for […]
While many of us have probably read about Pablo Escobar’s hippos that escaped his zoo, it’s been unclear to biologists what sort of impact the hippos have had on Colombian ecosystems. There are currently 80-100 animals in the Magdalena River and researchers estimate that in 20-40 years there could be thousands. As NatGeo explained, for […]
Wildlife and environmental groups scored a legal victory last week when the Trump Administration admitted in court filings that it had disbanded the Interior Department’s International Wildlife Conservation Council, an advisory committee of hunting advocates charged with promoting the “benefits of international hunting,” when the advisory committee’s charter of the expired in December of last year. It was the influence of panels like this one that led to the President reversing himself to allow big game trophies to be imported into the U.S. the agency after initially supporting the Obama Administration’s moratorium on bringing tusks and other elephant parts back home.