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World Giraffe Day sheds a light on the precarious status of the global giraffe population

One of the first things that comes to mind when people think of the Abilene Zoo is the giraffes at the zoo.

Right now, giraffes have been classified as a vulnerable species, which is just one step away from being considered as an endangered species.

As a part of World Giraffe Day on Thursday, the Abilene Zoo is trying to raise awareness on how the public can help save the species both in captivity and the wild.

It was a picture-perfect day at the Abilene Zoo, with families gathering around at the Giraffe Safari to feed the tallest animal on land and trying to grab the perfect snapshot.

Jennifer Long made the 200-mile drive from San Antonio to the Abilene Zoo to brave the hot temperatures and to get an up close and personal experience with the giraffes.

“We have been to a lot of different zoos, we always go to the ones where we can interact with the giraffes,” said Long.

Melissa Martinez, Jennifer’s daughter, is obsessed with giraffes, but sadly, there are less than 100,000 of them left in the wild and in just the last three years, their overall population has declined by 40 percent.

So, what is the reason for the decline in the global population of giraffes?

According to Joy Harsh of the Abilene Zoo, a lack of habitable locations is threatening the world’s population of giraffes.

“I think a lot of it has to do with their habitat, and their habitat is declining, they don’t have the room to do their life process,” Harsh said.

Proceeds from buying lettuce to feed the giraffes at the Abilene Zoo, which costs $4, will go straight to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation all day on Thursday in observance of World Giraffe Day.

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