Giraffes are a staple of compassionate tourism. People travel from all over the world to see this beautiful and regal species in person and catch that iconic photo of the giraffe reaching its neck up to eat leaves in the African savannah. Seeing giraffes in the wild can be a truly awe-inspiring experience, and you can help ensure giraffes continue to grace the African landscape by refusing to purchase any souvenirs made from giraffe parts.
Giraffes are currently facing what experts have labeled a “silent extinction” because of the lack of public awareness on their plight. Giraffe populations have declined by 40% in the past thirty years alone and trade in giraffes is not regulated by U.S. or international law. With fewer than 100,000 individuals left in the wild, giraffes may soon only exist in photographs and tourism leaflets.
A newly released HSUS investigative report reveals a thriving market for giraffe parts in the U.S. The report shows that giraffe parts are easily accessible on the internet and in shops across the country. In fact, investigators found giraffe parts for sale from at least 51 dealers selling a wide variety of giraffe parts and products including giraffe leather products like western boots, giraffe bone carvings like knife handles and pistol grips, hide rugs, pillows, taxidermy trophies and more. While this report focused on the U.S., travelers should be on the lookout for giraffe parts across the globe, especially in South Africa, the source of most of the giraffe products imported into the U.S.
Giraffe products come from trophy hunting, which is an additive threat to the major threats giraffes are facing which include habitat loss, civil unrest and poaching. Trophy hunters target giraffes so they can bring home a trophy and the opportunity to boast about their kill. Our investigation indicated that the hunting outfitters that help arrange their hunts often continue to profit from the kill and will sell the remaining parts—skin, bones, feet, tail.
Travelers who buy giraffe parts inadvertently support giraffe hunting by increasing demand for the products. Help protect giraffes from the additive threat of trophy hunting and the resulting trade by refusing to buy giraffe parts. Giraffes should not be pushed closer to extinction simply for us to decorate our homes in rugs and pillows made from their skin.
If you see a product you suspect may come from a giraffe, or any species of wildlife, ask the seller questions. Products to be on the lookout for include souvenirs made from a leathery material (giraffe skin can be used to make leather boots, book covers, etc.), hide pillows and rugs, bracelets made with tail hair and bone carvings. If you have any hesitations about the product, don’t risk it. Avoid buying any products that look like they could have been made from giraffe and when in doubt, Don’t Buy Wild. Sign our Don’t Buy Wild pledge to show your support for the ending the destructive and cruel trade in wildlife. How you choose to spend your money is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against animal suffering.
The views and expressed opinions on these pages are those of the organizations listed, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Expedia, Inc. Any cited research mentioned by these organizations is sourced by them and has not been verified or independently evaluated by Expedia, Inc.