Photo by Philippe Chantecaille
Help Us Stand Tall for Giraffes
The U.S. is one of the leading importers of giraffe parts. We need your help persuading America’s leaders to protect them before they’re gone.
Since the mid-eighties, giraffe populations have steadily declined by close to 40 percent over three decades. They’re impacted by climate change and habitat loss and “when you spend time with giraffes, you realize how vulnerable they are,” says Sylvie Chantecaille. “They’re shy and slow to run away, so they’re easy to poach for bush meat or for their parts.” Conservationists call their disappearance a “silent extinction,” because it has gone largely unnoticed. Of the four known species, two are listed as vulnerable under the IUCN and two are endangered.
However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not protect giraffes under the Endangered Species Act. Meanwhile, the United States is one of the biggest importers of wild giraffe parts—including bone, often used in specialty knife-making, and skin, used in rugs and other household items. Over the last decade, 40,000 giraffe skins and body parts have been imported to the U.S. from Africa, according to an investigation by the Humane Society International.
“If giraffes were protected under the Endangered Species Act, it would mean tighter restrictions on taking them from the wild.”
GIRAFFES NEED PROTECTION
To bring an end to this inhumane market, we’re joining a campaign launched by Kids Against Animal Poaching, Space for Giants, and The Independent to demand that giraffes be listed under the United States’ Endangered Species Act. Since it was established, 99% of species listed on it have avoided extinction.
KAAP was founded by teenager Emily Walker in 2014 when she was just 13, with a mission to save Africa's remaining wildlife. Now a student at the University of Michigan, she says, “I became obsessed with giraffes when I first visited Kenya, but I think a lot of us took giraffes for granted as the focus was on saving species such as elephants and rhinos. I was stunned to learn about the silent extinction of giraffes that is happening right now. These animals need us now more than ever,” she adds.
If giraffes were protected under the ESA, it would mean tighter restrictions on taking them from the wild, transporting or selling them. It could also unlock federal aid for cooperating countries that have significant giraffe populations. However, under current regulations, they won’t even come under consideration for inclusion until 2025, when it may be too late.
The protection of giraffes under the US Endangered Species Act is long overdue, Sylvie says. “The fact that young people are taking the lead on this is what gives me hope. This is a generation that may not have a chance to see giraffes in the wild—we are happy to support them in this effort.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We’re asking you to #StandTallForGiraffes by joining KAAP’s letter-writing campaign to Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt, asking him to commit to banning giraffe imports.
1. Sign a Letter
Kids Against Animal Poaching designed a letter template (both digital and literal) for supporters of the campaign to send to Secretary David L. Bernhardt via post or email, with the aim of creating a deluge of demands that cannot be ignored. You don’t have to be a kid to join, though we encourage you to engage the next generation of conservationists on this urgent matter. To add your support and help protect giraffes across Africa, click here.
2. Share on Social Media
Once you and/or your child have signed your letters (which you should feel free to make your own with drawings or words)...
- Download the graphic that you see above from here
- Add this link.
- Add your own message of support, if you wish.
- Post the photo and tag your friends to do the same. Remember also to tag your post with #StandTallForGiraffes + @kidsaap + @spaceforgiants.
We also encourage you to share an image of you or your child with a giraffe from our Chantecaille Wild Beauty app (like the one of Olivia Chantecaille, above)! You can download it on the App Store and Google Play. Don’t forget to tag it #StandTallForGiraffes.
The #StandTallforGiraffes campaign is an outgrowth of the Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign launched by Space for Giants and The Independent, to protect wildlife at risk from poachers due to the conservation funding crisis caused by Covid-19. Donate to stop illegal wildlife crime here.