Celebrating the Longest Neck on the Longest Day: Happy World Giraffe Day!

The Summer Solstice also marks a special day to me – World Giraffe Day! This day was created by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) to raise awareness about and celebrate this vulnerable and endangered species.

Did you know that Giraffes are considered a Keystone Species? This means that giraffes are an animal that impact the ecosystem so much, that if they were removed, that ecosystem would be dramatically changed in a negative way. As the giraffe population dwindles, this impacts the other species that share the same habitat. Giraffes, with their long necks, are able to reach high into the trees. This breaks spaces open in the canopy of trees, allowing for more plant growth lower down. This extra browse is important for smaller animals. They also are wonderful seed disperses for the Acacia Tree. Sometimes, seeds need to pass through the giraffe digestive system before they can properly germinate! These trees provide food resource and habitat for other animals such as Zebras, Impalas, Elephants, and insects.

As habitat fragmentation, human-wildlife conflicts, disease, and poaching continue, the giraffe population continues to decline. This can be really discouraging – especially for those of us who live far from the Central and South African regions that giraffe’s are native to. I currently live in Pennsylvania, United States and have (so far!) only been to Kenya twice…. What can I do to protect the animals that I love?!

Fortunately, there are some actions that we can take to help protect the amazing giraffe species regardless of our geographical location!

  1. Support Sustainable Agricultural practices – Not only can you donate money and resources to non-profits that work to increase sustainable practices (like African Wildlife Foundation), but you can also make a difference here by shopping local! Shopping local reduces carbon emissions created by transporting food far distances. You can also learn more about where the food you eat comes from. A lot of yummy coffee beans come from Kenya and we can be conscientious about purchasing Kenyan coffee that is grown sustainably.
  2. Participate in reforestation programs – Can’t get to Kenya and plant an acacia tree yourself? Find an organization that will do that for you! There are several tree-planting organizations that are working hard to restore native habitats – like One Tree Planted!
  3. Mitigate and slow climate change – Giraffes are being pushed out of their ideal habitat and water sources are scarce. As climate change continues, the African regions where giraffes live become more hot and arid – reducing their water sources even further. By mitigating climate change, planting trees where you live, and participating in eco-friendly, climate actions where you are, can help to slow climate change on a global level too!
  4. Vote Giraffe-Friendly – By supporting laws and protections such as the Endangered Species Act and other policies, you can protect these wonderful creatures! Click here to check out some other wildlife protection laws.
  5. Learn more and share this information – One of my favorite quotes/mottos is: “You See it, You Love it, You Save it.” This is one of my biggest motivators to photograph and share my love of wildlife and nature with everyone! Without learning about the amazing creatures of the world, why would anyone care to protect them? Don’t be afraid to tell others about the animals that you love to encourage more people to care about population decline. Did you know that you can share information and spread the giraffe love using #StandTallforGiraffe?

So today – World Giraffe Day – share your love of this amazing animals with everyone you know and help to conserve and protect this amazing keystone species!

Looking to share your love of giraffes with the world in a different way? Visit my store for giraffe prints, photo gifts, and more! A portion of all proceeds for giraffe purchases is donated back to giraffe conservation groups and their conservation efforts.

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