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The number of giraffes left in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Twenty years ago, there were 350.

A giraffe walking on the savanna



A Silent Extinction

Despite being one of the most recognizable creatures on Earth, few people are aware of the giraffes’ predicament. They’re quietly disappearing in what experts call a “silent extinction”. Giraffe threats are driven by human activities, including habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as hunting and poaching.



A soldier examines a giraffe corpse

A soldier examines a giraffe corpse.


Percentage of the giraffe population lost in the last 20 years, falling from 140,000 to about 85,000.

Teetering Towers

In some rural African communities, bushmeat (wild game) is an important source of protein, and surplus meat is sold for added income. In a cruel twist of fate, some people now believe that consuming giraffe brain and bone marrow will cure HIV/AIDS. This myth has placed a higher cultural value on the giraffe, and accelerated the illegal hunting of this slow-to-reproduce animal. Setting foot or neck snares in giraffe habitat is an inexpensive way to kill them and peddle their parts.

A juvenile giraffe in tall grass.

Together, we can
turn things around.


The Swahili word for giraffe. The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is working with local Kenyan communities to train "Twiga Walinzi," or giraffe guards, and supporting conservation in the region.

A man in a tree installing a camera

A Twiga Walinzi sets a camera trap to identify giraffes.




A Global Community

While it can be difficult to enforce anti-poaching laws (where they exist at all), it is also a challenge to change deep-rooted cultural beliefs about wildlife. But change is possible. When local people can provide more easily for their families, giraffe futures become brighter. Community conservation programs provide new jobs and opportunities for income, and help shift attitudes toward animals from nuisance to part of the family.




Three men under a tree, and a man bottle feeding giraffes.

Left: San Diego Zoo Global research coordinator, David O’Connor, speaking with Twiga WalinziRight: Three orphaned giraffe calves being raised at the Sarara Camp in Kenya.


The number of giraffes killed every day. That’s one every few hours.

Your gift to the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy sponsors local conservation efforts to affect change across the board, including the rehabilitation, hand-raising, and re-release of orphaned or injured animals. Once they’re back in the wild, we watch over them through anti-poaching patrols and aerial surveillance. We can’t do it without your help.

Two giraffes on the savanna.