Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A number of world nations voted Thursday to give greater protections to giraffes, with the goal of saving global populations and cracking down on the international trade of giraffe parts.
The nations made the vote at the World Wildlife Conference in Switzerland.
The parties agreed to a proposal by giraffe-range states of the Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal to list giraffes under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Appendix II protections. The protections restrict international trade to ensure all giraffe parts are legally acquired, and that exporting countries have determined the trade is not detrimental to the species survival.
The decision enables collection of international trade data, which could help justify more protections. Experts say giraffes have experienced a "silent extinction," and have declined by 40 percent in the past 30 years.
Habitat loss, disease and poaching have threatened the world's tallest mammals, as the global elephant population has surpassed them.
An investigation of the U.S. giraffe market last year found products, such as knives with giraffe bone handles, have become common after a ban on elephant ivory. Only 425 giraffes remain in Niger, for example, where they once flourished.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified seven of the nine giraffe subspecies as threatened.