The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released their Red List of Threatened Species this week, and on the list for the very first time were two (of nine) giraffe species, the Kordofan and Nubian giraffes. With less than a couple thousand animals left in the world, this leaves these giraffes just one stage away from extinction. The San Diego Union-Tribune shares more:

Giraffes were first listed as a vulnerable species only two years ago. Previously they had been listed as of “least concern,” a ranking given to species that face a minimal threat. More than 150,000 giraffes existed in the wild in 1985, the IUCN estimates, but by 2015 their numbers had fallen below 99,000.

Giraffes are herbivores with a prodigious appetite, and require enough land to feed themselves. So encroachment from human development threatens them. Poaching is also a concern in some areas.

The update ranks two out of the nine populations as critically endangered. They are the Kordofan giraffe with fewer than 2,000, and the Nubian giraffe, with 650 individuals. Critically endangered is the most serious ranking short of actual extinction. The reticulated giraffe is listed as endangered, with 15,784 in the wild.

You can read the full story on the The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Nonetheless, the IUCN reported recovery of some giraffe populations. The West African giraffe, previously labeled as endangered, has now been downgraded to vulnerable. The Rothschild’s was downgraded two levels from endangered to near threatened.

Meanwhile, see some of the other environmental headlines below.

Recommended Reading

  • The $185 million quest to make people love the ocean enough to protect it (Fast Company).
  • What I learned from adopting a ‘zero waste’ lifestyle (CNBC)
  • How artificial intelligence is changing wildlife research (National Geographic)
  • New Zealand asks travelers to help protect the environment (CNN)
  • Hawksbill turtle poaching to be fought with DNA technology (The Guardian)