Native to Africa, giraffes are the tallest land animals in the world. While they number over 100,000 individuals in the wild and, as a species, are listed as "least concern" by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, several subspecies are presently endangered.
According to IUCN, both the Niger giraffe and Rothschild’s giraffe subspecies are endangered. There may be fewer than 2,500 mature Rothschild’s giraffes in the wild and "numbers are declining overall and no subpopulation is estimated to contain more than 250 mature individuals," explains IUCN. The Niger giraffe suffers a worse fate with "less than 200 individuals" in existence, but IUCN notes the population is "currently increasing under targeted conservation programmes."
Officials at a zoo in Poland recently announced that a male giraffe that was widowed after stress from a hooligan break-in killed his two companions will receive new friends. 5-year-old Rothchild giraffe Tofik will reportedly receive three female companions. According to AP, "after the attack Tofik lost weight, ate little and reacted with panic to any disturbance, but has recovered and is ready for company."
If you wish you could befriend a giraffe, check out this tourist's reaction to a wet giraffe kiss.
Below, check out some of our favorite photos of giraffes:
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