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Feds Face Lawsuit Over Failure to Protect Giraffes

With populations plummeting, hunters are still allowed to import trophies
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2020 12:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – Conservation groups say they are planning to sue the federal government to win greater protection of "everyone's favorite longnecked mammal." Groups including the Humane Society of the United States filed a notice of intent to sue the US Fish and Wildlife Department Wednesday ABC reports. They say the department has failed to act on its 2019 determination that giraffes could qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Giraffe populations have dropped more than 40% since 1990, and while there aren't any wild ones in the US to protect, conservation groups say American trophy hunters are playing a role in their decline. They say giraffe hunting trophies are legally imported at the rate of more than one a day, along with numerous giraffe bone carvings and other giraffe parts.

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"Today, we are warning the USFWS that unless it acts swiftly to protect our planet's tallest land mammal, we will see it in court," Humane Society CEO Kitty Block said in a blog post Wednesday, urging the agency to "do its job." "We are putting the agency on notice today that we won't stop hammering on this issue until it stops pandering to special interest lobbies at such great cost to the world's wildlife," she said. Experts believe there are now fewer than 70,000 adult giraffes in the wild. Four subspecies are listed as endangered or critically endangered. Celebrities including Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul have joined the #StandTallforGiraffes campaign, the Independent reports. (There was some much-needed good news for the animals last year.)

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