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Why Do Poachers Kill Giraffes?

Why do poachers kill giraffes? The International Anti-Poaching Foundation is fighting giraffe poaching in Africa. Read our story to learn more.

April 22, 2021

Why Do Poachers Kill Giraffes?

Poaching is destroying African wildlife and habitats. Poaching is the illegal trapping, shooting or taking of animals where such actions are forbidden. In Africa, animals are often poached for illegal wildlife trade. Their body parts — including teeth, hooves, claws and tails — are sent to various countries to be used in jewelry, medicines and more.

Giraffes are currently being poached for their tails, and this has pushed some species closer than ever to extinction. The International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) is doing everything we can to stop giraffe poaching in Africa.

Why Do People Poach Giraffes, and What Are Giraffes Poached For?

Unfortunately, giraffes are poached for a number of reasons. Giraffe tails are coveted in many parts of Africa, and their hairs are also used in fly whisks, bracelets and sewing. Giraffes are killed for their meat and hides as well as their brains and bone marrow, which herbal medicine practitioners claim can protect people from HIV/AIDS. These claims have increased the price for giraffe parts, incentivizing poachers to kill more of these beautiful animals.

The giraffe poaching facts and statistics are shocking. In fact, the overall giraffe population has plummeted 40% in the past 30 years. An estimated 68,000 giraffes now remain in the wild. These remaining herds are constantly under threat, and some are more vulnerable than others. The population of Nubian giraffes has declined 98% in the past roughly 40 years. Some subspecies of giraffes are currently considered critically endangered, while others remain “vulnerable.”

The Impact of Giraffe Poaching

Poachers target giraffes and other precious African wildlife because their body parts amount to profit. This makes poaching difficult to stop, as some local communities rely on selling these items to feed their families. However, giraffes will quickly become extinct if we don’t fight against poaching in Africa.

Giraffes were once found across Africa in a variety of ecosystems and regions. Giraffes are essential to keeping African ecosystems balanced. Their 6-foot-tall necks help them reach foliage that other animals cannot. This allows for superior growth of foliage that other animals to eat. Additionally, giraffes are known for foraging on Acai trees, and some seedlings will not germinate unless they have been digested by a giraffe. Without giraffes, African habitats could lose a variety of other flora and fauna, too.

Help Fight Giraffe Poaching

You can take steps today to help stop giraffe poaching now and in the future. One of the easiest ways to stop giraffe poaching is to refrain from using any products made with giraffe parts. Additionally, poaching must be stopped at the source. You can support conservation efforts by donating to IAPF and other reputable African wildlife conservation organizations. We must also push governments and politicians to join the fight against giraffe poaching around the world.

You can help stop giraffe poaching right now by discussing the topic, “Why are giraffes poached,” with friends and family. The more individuals understand the dangers giraffe populations are facing, the faster actions against poaching will be taken.

What IAPF Is Doing?

The IAPF is taking a community-led approach to eliminating wildlife poaching in Africa. For example, our Akashinga and LEAD Ranger programs are empowering locals to defend giraffe habitats and arrest poachers without violence. You can learn more about the Akashinga anti-poaching program by watching the “Akashinga -- The Brave Ones” film.

Ready to take a stand against giraffe poaching? You can make a donation or become a monthly member to end poaching of these amazing animals.