For The Atlantic Ed Young followed scientists studying the last giraffes alive.
In 2010, eight times as many Sophie the Giraffe teething toys were sold in France alone as there are actual remaining giraffes. In 2016, the number of Britons who watched a giraffe kick a lion in Planet Earth II exceeded the giraffe population by more than a hundredfold. That same year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature reclassified the giraffe as “vulnerable” to extinction.
He has a wonderful way of telling the story.
She loses her footing and careens forward, her legs splaying out behind her. But her seven-foot-long neck still stretches resolutely skyward. A woman leaps from behind her back, collides with her neck midair, and rugby-tackles it to the ground. People run over, carrying a hood and a drill. The giraffe—an emblem of verticality—is now fully horizontal.
Turns out there are many things we don’t know about giraffes.