With its spindly legs, distinctive patterning, and absurdly long neck, the giraffe makes a compelling figure on the savanna. But the population of the world's tallest mammal has dropped sharply in recent decades – from about 150,000 in 1985, to fewer than 100,000 today.
That decline prompted five wildlife groups to petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to classify the giraffe as an endangered species. They say the giraffe is facing increasing threats from habitat loss, illegal hunting for bush meat and an international trade in trophies and bone carvings.