Sorry kids, but that lovable knock-kneed doofus we call giraffes may soon be no more. Today the International Union for Conversation of Nature classified the crane-necked creature as “vulnerable” meaning it’s at a high risk for extinction. If humans don’t change their behavior, the only giraffe we’ll ever see is between the covers of a book (yeah, they’re almost extinct too). The giraffe joins the elephant, orangutan, bees, and coral as creatures that may soon face extinction. Their disappearance comes amidst the loss of habitat, varying degrees of devastating climate change, and illegal poaching. The director of Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve told CNN we have at the most, 20 years to change the way we treat nature or we will bring about the sixth mass
They tower nearly two stories tall (up to 20 feet), weigh well over 2,000 pounds, and stand on long, lanky legs that let them reach speeds up to 40 mph. But with such a massive, gangly frame, how do they lay down to sleep? First, to lie down, the giraffe kneels on its front legs, folding them under its body, and then lowers its body to the ground, sort of like an accordion. Getting back up is pretty much the opposite process – the giraffe first gets on its knees and then spreads its hind legs to raise its back-end to full height. Then they straighten their front legs and viola, they’re back upright again. Luckily giraffes don’t have to do this awkward routine very often –
They can be scary, ugly, cute, and funny. They’re a critical part of our ecosystem, required for the very survival of mankind – animals! Here’s Reeko’s salute to those fuzzy (and feathery) creatures we all love oh so much. Check out the animal pictorial below (click picture for larger version).