The fight to save giraffes gets political ahead of US election

The Independent’s Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign has inspired a conservation charity in America

The Independent’s Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign has inspired a conservation charity in America to launch their own off-shoot campaign to save the giraffe, a species that we revealed is in grave danger due to demand for its body parts and skin.



a giraffe walking across a grass covered field


© Provided by The Independent


To mark World Animal Day on 4 October, Kids Against Animal Poaching [KAAP] has launched #StandTallForGiraffes. The campaign mobilises thousands of the organisation’s supporters to take part in a viral letter writing to call for a ban on giraffe imports and to demand that the animal is listed under the United States’ Endangered Species Act. 

The Endangered Species Act is the nation’s most powerful tool for protecting at-risk wildlife. Since it was established 99% of species listed on it have avoided extinction. 

Among the supporters of KAAP’s #StandTallForGiraffes campaign are supermodel Christy Turlington, actress Gina Gershon and Hollywood makeup artist Jillian Dempsey. They have joined the campaign by writing a letter to the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt demanding that the government commits to banning the trade of giraffe parts in the US. 



text: The Covid-19 conservation crisis has shown the urgency of The Independent’s Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign, which seeks an international effort to clamp down on illegal trade of wild animalsThe Independent


© Provided by The Independent
The Covid-19 conservation crisis has shown the urgency of The Independent’s Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign, which seeks an international effort to clamp down on illegal trade of wild animalsThe Independent

KAAP has designed a letter template for supporters of the campaign to send to Bernhardt via post or email, with the aim of creating a deluge of demands that cannot be ignored. To add your support and help protect giraffes click here.

In what conservationists have dubbed a ‘silent extinction’, giraffe populations have plummeted by 40 percent in the past 30 years. 

The Independent’s Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign recently revealed that America is the world’s biggest market for giraffe products. A 2018 investigation by Humane Society International found that 40,000 giraffe parts were imported into the US from Africa between 2006-2015. 

KAAP has helped to politicise this issue, against a backdrop of rising illegal wildlife crime since the pandemic, ahead of the Presidential election next month. 



a close up of a giraffe: KAAP


© Provided by The Independent
KAAP

Emily Walker founded KAAP in 2015  when she was just 13 years old. Walker told The Independent “I was stunned to learn about the silent extinction of giraffes that is happening right now. These animals need us now more than ever. “I think a lot of us took giraffes for granted as the focus was on saving species such as elephants and rhinos. 

“It’s a difficult and challenging time with a global pandemic, racial injustice and ensuring everyone’s vote is counted in the most important U.S. election of our lifetime, but giraffes cannot be put on the back burner. We need to act now to help them.” 

For the past four years KAAP has worked with conservation charity Space for Giants to help protect wildlife at risk from poachers. Space for Giants is The Independent’s charity partner on our Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign. 

Dr Max Graham, Founder and CEO of Space for Giants, said “the plight of Africa’s giraffes has been hidden amid a global focus on saving keystone species, such as the rhino and elephant. But giraffes are under serious threat from poaching and habitat loss. 

“We must act now to protect them and the natural ecosystems they rely on from unsustainable and dangerous exploitation. 

“By taking a small amount of time out of your day to write to the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, your voice will be heard and you really will help to secure a future for giraffes.”

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