Breaking! U.S. Imported 40,000 Giraffes Including Their Parts From 2006-2015; Urge The European Union To Protect Giraffes From A Silent Extinction Under The Endangered Species Act

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International animal conservation and protection organizations are calling on the European Union (EU) Member States to support a proposal by African nations to protect the imperiled giraffe from international trade that has contributed to the species’ decline by 40% in the past 30 years.

The Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal want giraffes listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but they need the support of the EU’s voting bloc, without which the proposal is likely to fail.

The six nations have the backing of fellow members of the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), a consortium of 32 African countries, which released a declaration stating its support for the proposal last month, in recognition of the steep decline in giraffe populations.

Scientists have labeled the plight of giraffes a silent extinction due to the lack of attention and support the species is receiving, so the animal groups are urging the European Union to stand in solidarity with the 32 African countries, which is critical for the giraffe proposal to succeed.

“We call on the EU to join the majority of African countries in their efforts to better protect giraffes,” Daniela Freyer from Pro Wildlife said in a statement. The species is endangered, populations have plummeted to less than 100,000 animals and we must ensure that over-exploitation for international trade is not fueling declines.”

While giraffe populations continue to wane, the species has become common in the wildlife trade. A Humane Society International report shows that the United States imported nearly 40,000 giraffe specimens between 2006 and 2015, such as: hunting trophies, decoration items, and knife handles, in addition to large shipments of live animals. The EU is also a key consumer of giraffe products; online research detailed in the proposal records over 300 giraffe products for sale by sellers based in seven European Union countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The proposal, to be voted on at the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in May, seeks to provide giraffes with protections to bring under control international trade in the currently unprotected species.

An Appendix II listing would require exporting countries to prove that giraffe specimens were legally obtained and that the export is not detrimental to the survival of the species. Additionally, the listing would provide researchers and governments with important data to track the trade in giraffes throughout the world.

“The giraffe is going quietly extinct as they are slaughtered for trophies and their body parts used for trinkets,” stated Adam Peyman wildlife programs and operations manager for Humane Society International. “There are currently no regulations on trade in giraffes, a CITES listing would provide critical measures to ensure giraffes are not pushed to the brink of extinction, and the EU’s vote holds the key to its success.”

The six organizations and the 30 African countries also strongly encourage CITES Parties, the CITES Secretariat, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to support the proposal.

“We must act now to prevent the further decline of this iconic species,” said Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International. “African nations need our help to protect threatened giraffe populations, and we urge the EU to step up and support this important measure, before it’s too late.”

Born Free Foundation, Humane Society International, Pro Wildlife, Animal Defenders International, and the National Resource Defense Council are among the organizations advocating for their protection.

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