Shocking Investigation Shows How We’re Pushing Giraffes to the Brink

While conservationists are continuing to raise awareness about the “silent extinction” giraffes are facing in the wild with little fanfare, an undercover investigation has just exposed how the trade in trophies and parts in the U.S. is contributing to their decline.

The investigation, which was conducted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI), found giraffe parts and products being sold both online and in stores by at least 51 dealers across the nation.

Giraffe Parts InvestigationCredit: HSUS

Items for sale ranged from boots, hides, bones and carvings to feet, bags, leather and full taxidermied trophies, among many other items, that were being sold for hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Giraffe Parts InvestigationCredit: HSUS

Even more troubling were the links to sellers who had been involved with wildlife trafficking, lies being told to justify the trade, such as giraffes needing to be killed to protect people because they’re dangerous and destructive, and the amount of parts and products being contributed by trophy hunters who kill them just for fun.

Giraffe Parts InvestigationCredit: HSUS

According to the HSUS, on average, more than one giraffe is imported by a U.S. trophy hunter every single day.

Giraffe Parts InvestigationCredit: HSUS

Sadly, this ongoing trade is putting them at serious risk and making the U.S. a significant player contributing to their decline.

Giraffe Parts InvestigationCredit: HSUS

“Purchasing giraffe parts puts the entire species at risk. The giraffe is going quietly extinct. With the wild population at just under 100,000, there are now fewer than one third the number of giraffes in Africa than elephants,” said Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the HSUS and president of HSI.

Giraffe Parts InvestigationCredit: HSUS

Despite their stature as the tallest land animal on earth, and being one of the most iconic and beloved species in the world, giraffes have been quietly disappearing from the landscape at an alarming rate. Since the mid-1980s, the population of giraffes has declined by a startling 40 percent, leaving only an estimated 97,560 individuals in the wild.

At the end of 2016, concerns about the threat of extinction prompted the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to change their status from a species of Least Concern – skipping right over Near Threatened – to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Unfortunately, they continue to face mounting pressure from a growing human population, human-wildlife conflicts, disease, habitat loss and fragmentation, predators, civil unrest, drought, climate change, being killed for their meat and parts and trophy hunting.

At least they’re not without advocates who are working to see them protected, and to ensure the U.S. isn’t complicit in their disappearance. Last year the HSUS, HSI, Center for Biological Diversity, International Fund for Animal Welfare and Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect all four genetically distinct species of giraffe equally as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

At the time, they found that nearly 40,000 giraffe parts and products had been imported into the U.S. over just the past decade, but listing them would ban most imports of trophies and parts coming into the U.S., and regulate domestic trade, in addition to helping raise much-needed awareness about their plight. It would also generate funding for more research and in-situ conservation efforts to protect them in the wild.

Unfortunately, there’s been no response to the petition, and no action has been taken on their behalf to protect them from further exploitation.


You can help show your support for these gentle giants by signing and sharing the petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Secretary of the Interior to protect them as endangered species.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Mark Donner
Mark Donner4 months ago

The penalty for any of those 50 criminal operations who traffic giraffe parts should be death. No possibility of reprieve send them to death row.

heather g
heather g4 months ago

Thank you Mary B and Mike Kelly. Giraffes are gentle with people and always look elegant in the African savannah. The real problem is that some Americans create a market for the animals belonging to other countries.

Mark T
Mark T4 months ago


Mary B
Mary B4 months ago

There are people who have empathy, and compassion who are the stewards of the Earth and creatures. Then there are those who are literally not wired for empathy, but who pretend to care so they can deceive. The study of personality disorders like narcissism, sociopaths and psychopaths is fascinating. It not just a matter of greed , they really are not able to be different. They can be trained a little bit, but under pressure, they revert to rage and revenge. I do not know how we should deal with them, but they must be contained and euthanized once they are recognized because according to the experts in the field of therapy, they don't change. What makes normal decent people sick, make those types brains light up in the pleasure centers when they cause pain and dispare and destruction. This goes way down to a cellular level where different hormones create different personalities. Think of what young people go thru to be dehumanized enough to kill not just a few others in self defense, but large populations of innocent people. and then we wonder why they come back with what used to termed 'shell shock' . Those who keep lumping us all together as 'the human race' are a BIG PART OF THE PROBLEM because you make it impossible to discern the difference between the stewards and the destroyers because you act like there is none.

Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill4 months ago

Signed with hope.

Sherri S
Sherri S4 months ago

Humans are going to destroy everything!!

Teresa A
Teresa Antela4 months ago

Terri S: I totally agree with you. Petition already signed and shared

Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago


Terri S
Terri S4 months ago

Just when you think the human species can't get more disgusting and ignorant, you find out that people will pay hundreds of dollars for the bones of an innocent, beautiful animal!!! WTF!!! I'm so ashamed to be a human!!!

Mike Kelly

Anne M. "How does this stuff get past customs ??"

Not sure, Anne M, but I do know that Donald Trump has eased the restrictions on importing elephant and lion trophies into the U.S. His two pampered sons, Eric and Junior, enjoy slaughtering African wildlife from their cozy hiding place.

The two miscreant murderers can be seen posing with many of their slaughtered trophies. One of the elephants that they killed provided its tail to be hung on the wall in their rumpus room. Here's are some photos of the two spoiled sons of Trump posing with their victims: