Rare giraffes poached in Niger

2010-08-16 21:20

Niamey - Poachers in Niger killed two baby West African Giraffes, the first attack on the endangered species in the country for 20 years, an environment official said on Monday.

"In less than a month, we have recorded two giraffe deaths linked to poaching," Malam Issa, who heads Niger's environment and wildlife efforts, told AFP.

One of the giraffes had its foot "completely broken" after stepping into a trap, and the other had a foot tendon "systematically cut", Issa said.

"These are the first cases of poaching since we started tracking these giraffes 20 years ago," said Omer Dovi from the Association to Safeguard the Giraffes of Niger (ASGN).

Niger's public television on Sunday broadcast pictures of a government mission aimed at raising awareness of the new threat in areas inhabited by the giraffes.

The West African Giraffe is considered an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with a population of under 200, though its numbers are rising due to conservation efforts.