In DepthConservation

East Africa turmoil imperils giraffes

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Science  23 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6344, pp. 1220-1221
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6344.1220

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Drought and overgrazing in northern Kenya have sent thousands of herders and their livestock into national parks and other protected areas, touching off a surge in wildlife killings that is devastating populations of one of East Africa's most majestic beasts: giraffes. Poachers are also hunting the animals for bush meat. Giraffes are an easy target, and several populations are already in serious decline, including two East African varieties, the Nubian and reticulated giraffes. In response to the threat, scientists are stepping up research on the animals' birth and survival rates, movements, and interactions with resources and landscapes, hoping to pinpoint risks and focus conservation efforts.

  • * Jane Qiu is a science journalist in Beijing.