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The June Print of the Month is Giraffe’s Landscape, a print dedicated to one of the most beloved but often overlooked of the endangered species. This stunning portrait of a herd of giraffes roaming across the Kenyan grasslands is a reminder of the majesty of this species as well as its precarious conservation status.
Like many savannah-dwellers, giraffes travel in herds like the one captured in this print. However, these herds are unique in that they don’t have a traditional organizational or leadership structure. Rather, all the herd’s females look out for the calves as a group, embodying a teamwork that protects their little ones but cannot save them from their descent toward endangerment.
Although they are an iconic member of the animal kingdom, giraffes are often taken for granted in research and conservation efforts. Since the 1980s, the African giraffe population has plummeted nearly 30%, but the conservation community is starting to taking notice. The table below shows the IUCN Red List of the nine subspecies of giraffes.
While there is much concern about the status of the giraffe species as a whole, it is worth celebrating the increasing status of the Angolan, Rothschild’s, and West African sub-species. These improvements are due in large part to collaboration between African governments and conservation organizations, like Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which serves as a safe haven for local giraffes. There is also renewed hope in the conservation community as recent genetic research has determined there may actually be four distinct species of giraffe with several subspecies. While this may seem to be simply a naming issue, the taxonomic classification of these animals has a significant impact on their conservation outcomes.
This month, you can support African wildlife conservation efforts and the work of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy by purchasing Giraffe’s Landscape for yourself or a loved one. The more we share the plight of these gentle giants, the better they may fare.