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26 Nov 2013: Updated Conservation List
Finds Forest Giraffes on Brink of Extinction

Okapi, forest giraffe
Wikimedia Commons
Blue-tongued forest giraffe, or okapi.
In an updated list released today, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) noted some significant successes and failures in global wildlife conservation efforts. A major success story is the leatherback sea turtle, whose Atlantic population has recovered enough for the species to be considered only vulnerable, rather than critically endangered. The IUCN attributed the leatherback rebound to better protection of nesting beaches and reduced fisheries bycatch. The updated Red List contains more somber news, though, for the blue-tongued forest giraffe, the national symbol of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The striped-legged forest giraffe, a species of okapi, is on the brink of extinction due mainly to the long, ongoing civil war in that country, which has led to increased poaching and loss of habitat. The Red List's ranks of threatened species — those classified as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered — have grown by 352 species since this summer, Mongabay reports. Roughly 21,000 species are now listed as threatened.


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