Giraffes, Zebras Face Surprising Top Threat: Hunting
Demand for meat is driving some of the world’s iconic herbivores toward extinction, new study finds.
It's no secret that elephants and rhinoceroses are in trouble, poached for body parts and meat that are sold worldwide. But a new study published today in the online journal Science Advances finds that other large plant-eaters, including zebras and gorillas, are in the same sinking boat.
Hunting these animals for their meat—either for subsistence or for sale—is a major threat, along with poaching, to the world's largest herbivores, the researchers report. (Learn why 2014 was a record year for poaching in South Africa.)
Habitat loss from human activities like agriculture and construction, and competition from livestock, round out the top four threats facing these animals.
In addition to their appeal for safari tourists and hunters, herbivores