Are Giraffes a Common Target for Poachers?

eHezi Africa, Business, Environmental, Governance, History Leave a Comment

The majestic giraffe.

YONKERS, WESTCHESTER COUNTY. NY — April 19, 2022 — Giraffes are perhaps some of the most famous and well-loved animals. They have achieved global fame for their striking beauty, soft, gentle images, and majestic height. Giraffes are also not competitively aggressive and typically pose no threat to populations. 

Herbivores that eat berries, leaves, and twigs, these incredible creatures are rarely, if ever, the target of meat hunting and give local communities no reason to persecute them. Certain endangered species, like tigers, can be the target of poaching from fear of their interference with local livestock, or even danger to local human populations. However, giraffes have never had such a reputation and are generally considered harmless creatures.

That being said, the giraffe population is sadly needing protection as it has experienced a massive decline over the last several decades. Here is everything you need to know about what threatens the giraffe population the most and if they are a common target for poachers. 

Are Giraffes a Common Target for Poaching? 

The short answer to this question is yes, giraffes are a common target for poaching, however, there’s more to it than simply that. Giraffes are not thought of as creatures that are commonly poached for a couple of key reasons. One of them is that they simply do not have the same value on the black market as other famously endangered species. Yet they are still the target of poaching, which represents a legitimate crisis for their population. 

Giraffes as a species have experienced a shocking 40% decline in population over the last 30 years, with current estimates of less than 100,000 left in the world. Giraffes are not as famously endangered as certain creatures like the elephant, gorilla, or rhino, however, they are persecuted. There are two subspecies of giraffes that have been listed as critically endangered, and conservation efforts are in place to help sustain this beautiful species. 

Why does Poaching Target Giraffes?

Rhinos, elephants, tigers, and other endangered creatures have a high value on the black market. For example, elephants are victims of the inhumane ivory trade and are killed by the thousands every year for their precious tusks that have incredible value on the black market. Rhinos are similarly persecuted for their coveted horn, which is thought to have medicinal value and astonishing value in status and power in certain Asian cultures. 

However, giraffes are not nearly as famously desired, but they do have value on the black market. Like other animals, they are commonly poached for body parts that are considered to be valuable for unfounded medicinal purposes or even trinkets. However, a large reason why giraffes are the victims of poaching is actually for their meat. While giraffes are not as maliciously made the target of poaching as other animals, they are still victimized to endangerment.  

What Other Conditions Threaten the Giraffe Population? 

While the direct effect of poaching has had incredible impact on the giraffe population, they are also the victims of indirect harm. One of the biggest ways that the giraffe population is threatened is by depreciation of their natural habitat. Giraffes are herbivores that are entirely dependent on the health of the forests in which they reside. Their entire diet is composed of leaves, berries, and plants that they need to survive. 

Issues like deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats contribute to their decline in population. For example, the decline of the natural habitats that giraffes live in through deforestation and climate change have contributed to their 40% decline over the last 30 years. However, they are also the victims of indirect poaching as well. 

Victims of Poaching Meant for Other Animals

This happens commonly when traps are set for other animals that giraffes are unaware of. Unfortunately, these inhumane traps meant for smaller creatures can often time wound or cripple these gentle giants. When this happens, it’s common for poachers to kill the trapped giraffes and sell them on the black market, even if the traps were not originally intended for them. 

The giraffes that may struggle free of such traps are typically maimed and wounded in a way that eventually has a lethal effect on them. This senseless collateral damage by which giraffes become is another form of poaching that is genuinely heartbreaking. 


Giraffes are some of the most beautiful and majestic creatures still roaming the world today, and their population is in need of protection. However, even without being as highly valued as other endangered animals, efforts around the globe are still needed to be made to protect their natural environment and stop the senseless poaching of these gentle giants.

eHeziAre Giraffes a Common Target for Poachers?

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