Giraffes under threat of extinction

Of the nine sub-species of giraffe, five have decreasing numbers (Getty)
Of the nine sub-species of giraffe, five have decreasing numbers (Getty)

The world's tallest mammal will be extinct in the next century if current trends don't change, according to the world's leading body on threatened species.

Giraffes have been listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the first time, which means it's facing a "high risk of extinction in the wild".

The IUCN says there are 40 percent fewer giraffes now than three decades ago. Giraffes were already on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species, in the 'least concern' category.

Of the nine sub-species of giraffe, five have decreasing numbers.

The IUCN says the growing human population is to blame, due to habitat changes, illegal hunting and civil unrest. 

"It is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late," said Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN Giraffe and Okapi specialist group.

This year's World Conservation Congress passed a resolution to protect areas where giraffes live, mainly in Africa.

Newshub.