How many giraffe are there and are they ‘Endangered’?

In the 1980s, the total number of all giraffe in Africa was estimated at more than 155,000 individuals. Today, GCF estimates the current Africa-wide giraffe population at approximately 117,000 individuals. This is a drop by almost 30%, a slightly less bleak picture than previously portrayed in the 2016 IUCN Red List assessment that estimated giraffe at less than 100,000 individuals. However, this updated information is based more on improved data rather than on actual increases in numbers. Unfortunately, in some areas traditionally regarded as prime giraffe habitat, numbers have dropped by 95% in the same period.

Limited conservation research has been undertaken on giraffe throughout Africa. While the IUCN Red List currently recognises one species of giraffe and nine subspecies, new findings by GCF and partners clearly show four species and five subspecies of giraffe. This updated information is currently under further review and will hopefully soon be taken into consideration by the IUCN for future conservation assessments, giving each giraffe their own taxonomical status and mandate for increased conservation. Read more about giraffe species here.

In 2016, the giraffe as a species was uplisted to Vulnerable from Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. In 2018, seven of the nine currently recognised subspecies were assessed and are now listed on the IUCN Red List. Two subspecies (Kordofan and Nubian giraffe), are now listed as Critically Endangered, Reticulated giraffe as Endangered, Thornicroft’s giraffe as Vulnerable, while Angolan giraffe are listed as Least Concern. Both the West African and Rothschild’s giraffe were down-listed from Endangered to Vulnerable and Near Threatened, respectively, due to targeted conservation efforts in their core habitats.

Find out more about the conservation status of giraffe here.

IUCN Red List

As a species:
Giraffe Vulnerable
The listed subspecies:
Angolan giraffe Least Concern
Kordofan giraffe Critically Endangered
Nubian giraffe Critically Endangered
Reticulated giraffe Endangered
Rothschild’s giraffe Near Threatened
Thornicroft’s giraffe Vulnerable
West African giraffe Vulnerable
More Giraffe Facts