With their long, swaying necks, distinctive pattern on their furry coats and those endless spindly legs, giraffes are some very odd-looking creatures when you really think about it. But we love them – and that’s why they’ve got a day of their own!
Whether you’re into conserving their native habitats, enjoy hanging out with our necky friends at the zoo or you just appreciate the joy of nature’s most weird and wonderful creatures, World Giraffe Day is a day of observance when you can really put your neck out!
The History of World Giraffe Day
The conservation and protection of wild animals have long been on our agenda – beautiful creatures such as giraffes are at risk in their natural habitat due to a number of factors, including poaching and destruction of their ecosystems and habitats.
World Giraffe Day was initiated by the GCF – the Giraffe Conservation Foundation – and hopes to bring awareness of the amazing animal’s plight to every concerned person across the world while also celebrating these quirky creatures.
According to the GCF, there are only around 100,000 giraffes left in the wild, meaning they are approaching high-risk status.
In the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, giraffes have recently had their listed status changed to ‘Vulnerable to extinction’ – their numbers in Africa have dropped hugely by around 40% in just the last three decades alone.
Specifically, the Masai giraffe has lost half of its numbers in the last 30 years, and now only around 32000 are remaining in Tanzania and in southern Kenya.
For the most part, these drops in the population are due to the increase of human settlements and the loss of habitat that goes along with it.
It would be a tragedy if giraffes were to go extinct in the wild. Not only are they a friendly species, but they’re also an inspiration. They’re unique in the animal kingdom, owing to their long necks, and colorful markings.
Interestingly, there are four separate species of giraffe in the world. There’s the Masai giraffe that lives on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. Then there’s the reticulated giraffe, the southern giraffe that lives in countries like Botswana and the northern giraffe, which dominates much of the north of Africa. The giraffe, as you might guess, is the tallest animal in the world. And no two individuals have the same spots. Every giraffe is different, just like how two people never have the same fingerprints.
Unfortunately, giraffes are officially extinct in more than seven African countries, highlighting the need to protect them.
The GCF now has dozens of partners all over the world, committed to helping to preserve this majestic beast. Parks in western countries regularly organize activities and games to celebrate the day, including face-painting in the style of giraffe spots! Many zoos also provide visitors with the opportunity to meet expert giraffe keepers and learn more about how they live, both in captivity and the wild.
There’s a desperate need for an event like World Giraffe Day. These creatures, like elephants, lions, and hippos, are an inspiration for children all around the world and a leading driver of conservation efforts. It is almost impossible to imagine an Africa where these giant beasts don’t roam the savannah.
How to celebrate World Giraffe Day
The GCF website has plenty of information for you if you wish to donate to the effort of saving the world’s giraffe population, and you should certainly take a look if you are fond of the long-necked creatures.
Even small donations count towards helping, and just a little money can go towards helping to ensure the future safety of the Masai giraffe.
Many zoos across your country will be taking part in fundraising and observance of this day – so if you want to get involved, you could pop along and play your part. There are also opportunities to get involved via schools, NGOs, government institutions and conservation organizations too. Most of the work on the day itself will be to raise awareness of the plight of the giraffe and to engage the community on the issue. The giraffe needs people on the ground who understand the issues and are able to have an impact on the wider community.
Besides attending an event and donating money, what else can you do to celebrate World Giraffe Day? If you’re an artist, then you could try painting an image that captures the essence of these beasts. You can convey their giant, striding nature on canvas and then perhaps share your work on social media.
If you’re a writer, you could also pen an article on the dangers that giraffes face and the things that individuals can do to support the species for posterity. While the vast majority of your audience will care about the plight of these animals, they won’t necessarily know what steps they can take to make a difference. Giraffes are often thousands of miles away in other countries.
Your task, therefore, might be to create a resource that people can use to take action to protect giraffes. Alternatively, you could create a journalistic piece, chronicling current issues facing the species.
Be sure to share information about giraffe conservation on your social networking accounts, and get the conversation started about keeping these beautiful animals a part of our wildlife.
GCF began celebrating World Giraffe Day as a way to raise awareness. The best thing you can do, therefore, is to help them in their effort and protect this marvelous species.