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The population dropped 40-percent over 30 years, but not many people noticed.

Giraffes closer to extinction than elephants scientists warn

Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Friday, December 9, 2016, 3:16 PM - Imagining a world without giraffes may no longer be a tall order.

The beloved knock-kneed animal has just moved up to "vulnerable status" as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which lists giraffes to be at risk of extinction.

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According to the IUCN, the world's tallest land mammal transitioned from "least concern" to "vulnerable" due to a decline in population of 36 to 40 per cent. In 1985, the giraffe population totaled approximately 152,000 to 163,000 individual mammals. In 2015, that number dropped to roughly 97,500.

"The growing human population is having a negative impact on many giraffe subpopulations," the IUNC said in a release. "Illegal hunting, habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest are all pushing the species towards extinction."

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Three out of the nine subspecies of giraffe have seen an increase in population, while five others have decreasing populations. One subspecies' population remains stable.

Elephants, who also suffer a large risk of extinction, are reportedly less at-risk than giraffes -- though not by a long shot.

For the world's largest land mammal, elephants are at an estimated combined population randing in the hundred-thousands, currently making them less rare than giraffes.

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