With the death of the last male white rhino being in recent headlines, more conservationists have been coming forward to speak out about other vulnerable or endangered species, one of which, are giraffes.
For the past several years, giraffes have been my favorite animal, so to say that I was shocked when I found out that giraffes were on the brink of extinction would be an understatement.
The recreational killing of animals, known as trophy hunting, has drastically contributed to the slow decline in the population of giraffes. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), around 110,000 "mature" giraffes were estimated to be in existence in 1985, however, in 2015 the number had dwindled to a startling 68,000.
The United States is the longest importer of animal “trophies”, which conservationists say is encouraging the population decrease of giraffes as well as other endangered animals. If the U.S. chose to ban these imports, this could help lessen the severity of the population decrease that we are seeing today.
However, our legislation has taken a step in the completely wrong direction. U.S. President Donald Trump lifted the ban on importing big game trophies acquired in certain African countries in early March. Although one might argue that trophy hunting helps conservation due to the revenue that it brings into states, others argue that it might be because his two sons have recognizably participated in big game hunting.
Nonetheless, before trophy hunting and poaching of giraffes reaches the level threatening elephants and rhinos, action needs to be taken by U.S. legislators in order to ensure preservation for the future. I mean, how sad would it be if the next generation had no idea what giraffes were?