SOUTH-AFRICA: The giraffe just silently went to the list of endangered species

digi-me @digi-meMarch 2019 · 4 min read


Last year I visited South- Africa and the Kruger Park. For the first time I learned that the giraffe is listed as an «endangered» species. It is estimated that the population of giraffes has dropped as much as 40% the last three decades. The cause is hard to know, due to lack of efforts when it comes to conservation. A guide in the park told us that the population of giraffes in South-Africa is fine. But not in Kenya and Central Africa, where they are declared an endangered species. On one of our game drives we counted more than 30 giraffes! That was before I knew about the list.

The Kruger park is one of the most accessible parks and easy to explore on your own. Infrastructure is good. There are camp sites where it is possible to have a break and something to eat. We did a three day self-drive from south to north in Kruger and stayed in the camps within the park. Even a 4x4 would have been a better option on some of the smaller gravel roads, we managed well with our normal car.

Kruger National Park might be the most famous wildlife park in Africa. It is one of the world’s greatest wildlife-watching destinations and the largest of all South Africa’s game parks. The terrain is varied. Beautiful granite hills, savannah and tropical forests cover an area of more than 19.000 sq.-km. The density and diversity is said to be unparalleled. When it comes to animals all of Africa’s iconic species can be seen here.

There is a great variety when it comes to mammels as well as birds. In the information brochure we received at the entrance, I read that there are no less than 147 different mammals. In addition, more than 10.000 buffalos, antelopes and zebras who roam the park.

The animals are wild and unpredictable. Elephants and rhinos can be dangerous to both us and the car. Everyone has to keep a distance to other cars when they line up. Just in case an elephant or two should become agressive.

Usually we shared information with other drivers when we met some from the opposite direction. Just a short chat to exchange information about animals we have seen. It was crowded at times and we had to wait in line until it became our turn to see the lions….

The day we chose to leave the main road and drive on one of the gravel roads, we were very much alone. During a 5 hour drive we met only one other car. Our wildlife-watching that day included a large number of giraffes. They really look so tall when they came close to our car. The giraffe is the tallest animal on our planet. The height helps them to keep sharp lookout. But to drink water seems both difficult and dangerous because of the long legs. But fortunately these were alone with only some antelopes.

Later that afternoon we did a guided game drive. The last photo is a young female leopard who came very close to our car.

On this trip we found out that the giraffes somehow silently went to the list of endangered animals facing extinction. Giraffes have been widely overlooked for a little too long. Species which are likely to become extinct is categorized endangered. This categorization is done by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUNC). At the end of 2018 the IUCN reported that they have moved the giraffe from the list of «least concern» to that of «vulnerable» status in their Red List of threatened species report. If we are doing nothing about it, giraffes can become extinct in the wild. Scientists are now undertaking major studies to understand why giraffes are disappearing and what can be done to stop it.

Source: National geografic and Giraffe Conservation Foundation

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It is crazy that we have these huge game Parks and we can't keep them safe still. The problem is there are not enough rangers and then even some of them are implicated from time to time. We normally go to Madikwe which is a Game Reserve on the South African/Botswana border and they have had a few scares with poachers, but it isn't as vast as Kruger. I think that if poachers are found they need to hunt them down and shoot them. This may sound harsh, but if nothing is done many animals will be joining the list over the next decade. This will send out
a strong message.


thank you for your comment. I asked myself the same question. How can poaching still be going on? It is sad that more and more animals will join that list. When it comes to the gifaffe we were told there are not sure why the population is dropping, but it might have to do with their habitat shrinking, due to humans who want the land for agriculture. I should like to visit Botswana one day :)


Botswana is a gem and is run better than any other country in Africa. Giraffes I think will be fine as we have 3 in the housing estate down the road. I think if they are becoming endangered more and more will go into these estates for safe keeping. I just wish someone would come up with a good plan for the Rhinos though as they worry me. They are disappearing too quickly and in most cases it is the rangers themselves who are involved in syndicates feeding information.


I have heard that rangers are sometimes involved....I quess it might be the case all over. We just don't allway hear about it. Botswana is on my travelplans in the near future. What will be the best time of year to visit? I want to visit the Okawanga delta at a time where there is plenty of water.


The Okovango Delta is flooded normally from around May to September /October. It is winter then and it isn't the unbearable heat. It is still hot though.I will have a look for you as a friend of mine has shares in a company that does Okavango tours and is a tented camp. I haven't been either and is on the bucket list.
There is lots of stuff we don't hear about. I know the funding doesn't always end up where it is supposed to and they use finds to travel around the world to get more funding to keep the fund directors in a life of luxury. So much more could be done, but there is corruption in everything today.


Thank you for your answer. I will have to go august / september then :) I will be gratefull for the names of companies doing tours to Okavango.

And you are right about all we do not hear about. Fundings are not allways going where they are supposed to! And corroption is everewhere. Money really does rule .


Sad news indeed 😥


Amaazing photos, @digi-me. Those are sad news about the giraffes, though. 😕
Thanks for this great article!


I have never heard of it before. We are used to hear a lot about endangered animals, but I never heard of the giraffe before. Lets hope they will survive :)


Wow, what a smashing post. Your photos are so beautiful, they really capture those animal's beauties. Those zebras are magnificent <333.

It is sad to hear that giraffe's population is depleting. But I guess with climate change, a couple of animal species are going to be extinct.


Thanks, you are kind. I agree. It is sad, but it will continue to happend to some species. It always have and still will!


I never knew the giraffe is an endangered species.

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You took so beautiful photos. I would like to visit this beautiful place. I have seen some of this animals live, but your photos also look so realistic, I really like them.
I'm glad you told us something about this animals, I like to study and hear new things.
Thank you for sharing. :)


Thank you :)


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thanks you :)