Conservationists Rush To Save The Congo's Last 38 Giraffes

Raymond Boyd via Getty Images
MILWAUKEE - SEPTEMBER 13: Reticulated Giraffe at the Milwaukee County Zoo on September 13, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

The poaching crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is affecting more than just elephants. New surveys have revealed that the country’s giraffe population has plunged to just 38, putting the species at immediate risk of extinction there.

The Congo’s giraffes all live within Garamba National Park, a 1,930-square-mile UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park, which is run by nonprofit organization African Parks, held more than 350 giraffes two decades ago. Most of those animals were killed during the country’s 1998–2003 civil war, leaving just 86 giraffes afterward. Many of those remaining giraffes have now been lost to poachers.

Park officials have warned that if they lose just five more giraffes, the population may no longer be sustainable on its own.

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