Giraffes, four species instead of one

Discover four species of Giraffes

Although we see them the same they are genetically very different, like a polar bear and brown bear. So, there are four species of giraffes that  scientists have just discovered through their DNA. How much ignorance have we shown in relation to the most elegant and tallest of mammals, which so far we have considered to be only one species. The Giraffe population is on the decline in Africa. they have descended dramatically in the last three decades: From more than 150.000 they have been reduced to less than 100.000. The scientists admit that they have studied these animals much less in comparison to other mammals such as cats, primates or rhinos.

atesafrica jirafa piel
Foto de Louise Pilgaard en Unsplash

Julian Fennessy of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia, who is concerned with researching the giraffe population that inhabits different areas of Africa with the help of the geneticist Axel Janke, from Goethe University, in Frankfurt. After examining the DNA of around 190 giraffes in all Africa (extracted from skin biopsies), including the nine already known subspecies. This analysis showed that there are four groups of giraffe, highly differentiated and who do not mate with each other. For this reason they declared that there are four species. 

Jirafa Giraffa (sureña) – G. Tippelskirchi (Masai) – G. Reticulada (reticulada) – G. Camelopardalis (norteña)  that include the sub species Nubia (G. c. Camelopardalis).

atesafrica jirafas
Foto de sutirta budiman en Unsplash

This amazing discovery means that “With four different species”, the conservation status of each one can be better defined and added onto the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to their decline over the last 30 years. 

One example is enough. The northern giraffe has less than 4.740 wild individuals and less than 8.700 individuals reticulated. They are more fragile and they become the most threatened mammals on the planet.

It is also in our hands to demand the protection of threatened species and to give growth to tourism that respects our nature. If you want to know more and even adopt, please follow the link to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Southern giraffe: Giraffa giraffa

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