Adam Vaughan “Researchers discover there are not one - but four species of giraffe” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/08/researchers-discover-there-are-not-one-but-four-species-of-giraffe
Analysis of DNA evidence from all of the currently recognised nine sub-species found that there is not just one species of giraffe but enough genetic differences to recognise four distinct species. Experts said the differences are as large as those between brown bears and polar bears.
The four recommended new species are the southern giraffe, with two subspecies, the Angolan giraffe and South African giraffe; the Masai giraffe; the reticulated giraffe; and the northern giraffe including the Kordofan giraffe and west African giraffe as subspecies.
While the southern giraffe was increasing markedly in number, populations in east and central Africa were in trouble, he said.
“It’s all habitat loss, fragmentation and a lot of that is, let’s be honest, linked to human population growth – increasing land for agricultural needs, whether for commercial or for subsistence farming,” he said, speaking from Windhoek, Namibia. “In some of these countries though there is illegal hunting or poaching causing the decline.”
The conclusions of the study, which took five years, will be now be reviewed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s specialist group on giraffes.
In a statement, the IUCN said: “The number of species of giraffes has come in for much discussion and debate in recent years. The findings of this latest study will need to be carefully evaluated, as it could - as the authors note - have considerable implications for their conservation. We know that giraffes, while widely distributed, are declining nearly across their range, with some narrowly distributed populations in serious trouble.
“If the findings of the current study are accepted, then it may well be that some species would be listed in threatened categories on the IUCN red list. This would hopefully flag the need for increased attention on a species that is otherwise normally considered common.”
The historically accepted definition of one species of giraffe was based on a description in 1758 by the Swedish taxonomist Carl Linnaeus, who examined a Nubian giraffe (now to be considered as a northern giraffe). The new study’s discovery that there are in fact four will not come as a a total surprise to those who study giraffe closely – previous research has suggested some subspecies appeared genetically distinct enough to be considered separate species*4.
Oliver Milman “Eastern gorilla now critically endangered while giant panda situation improves” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/04/eastern-gorilla-critically-endangered-illegal-hunting-iucn-red-list
*1:See eg. http://giraffeconservation.org/our-team/ Kate Bezar “Julian Fennessy is a Giraffe Protector” http://www.dumbofeather.com/conversation/julian-fennessy-is-a-giraffe-protector/
*2:Julian Fennessy, Tobias Bidon, Friederike Reuss, Vikas Kumar, Paul Elkan, Maria A. Nilsson, Melita Vamberger, Uwe Fritz & Axel Janke “Multi-locus Analyses Reveal Four Giraffe Species Instead of One” http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(16)30787-4
*3:http://www.iucn.org/ See eg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Union_for_Conservation_of_Nature https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%9B%BD%E9%9A%9B%E8%87%AA%E7%84%B6%E4%BF%9D%E8%AD%B7%E9%80%A3%E5%90%88 Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20130708/1373257262 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20160406/1459958841
*4:See David M Brown, Rick A Brenneman, Klaus-Peter Koepfli, John P Pollinger, Borja Milá, Nicholas J Georgiadis, Edward E LouisJr, Gregory F Grether, David K Jacobs and Robert K Wayne “Extensive population genetic structure in the giraffe” http://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7007-5-57