Giraffe populations are rising, giving new hope to scientists | Animals | National Geographic

Giraffe numbers are 20 percent higher than in 2015, an increase linked to conservation efforts and more accurate survey data.

By Douglas Main, Published January 12, 2022• 6 min read

Two male giraffes in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve. The total population of wild giraffes is up significantly since 2015.
Photograph by Shannon Wild, Nat Geo Image Collection

Giraffe numbers have increased across Africa, new research shows, a rare spot of good news in the conservation world.

According to a recent analysis of survey data from across the African continent, the total giraffe population is now around 117,000, approximately 20 percent higher than it was thought to be in 2015, when the last major survey was published.

This rise is a result of genuine growth in some areas, but also stems from more accurate census data, says Julian Fennessy, executive director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, based in Namibia.

“It’s great to see these numbers increasing,” says Fennessy, a co-author of the new research. Giraffes were once considered a single species. But recent genetic evidence shows there are likely four species of giraffe, three of which have increased considerably in number: northern, reticulated, and Masai giraffes. The fourth, southern giraffes, have remained relatively stable.

Source: Giraffe populations are rising, giving new hope to scientists