Giraffes, rarer than elephants, put on extinction watch list

WASHINGTON — Biologists say the giraffe, the tallest land animal, is now at risk of extinction.

The giraffe population has shrunk nearly 40 percent in just 30 years. Scientists have put it on the official watch list of threatened and endangered species worldwide, calling it "vulnerable." That's two steps up the danger ladder from its previous designation of being a species of least concern.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says the giraffe population in 2015 was around 97,000 down from between 151,000 and 163,000 in 1985.

Scientists blame habitat loss for the decline.