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It  seems like every year another animal is highlighted as endangered, but this recent addition by the  International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has come as a pretty big shock.

Giraffes have been added to the Red List of endangered species, as scientists discover that there are less than 100,000 left in the wild.

Previously listed as an animal'of least concern' they have now jumped straight into the endangered category, as habitat loss and illegal hunting have cut their numbers down dramatically over the last few years.

The report revealed that the giraffe population has decreased by a staggering 40 per cent in the last 30 years, with their number dropping from an estimated 157,000 in 1985 to 97,500 today.

laufende Giraffe, Savanne, Ruanda

The number of species assessed by the red list now totals more than 85,000, with over 24,000 at risk of extinction, but many more species remain unstudied. Along with Giraffes, many other animals, such as rhinos and the grey parrot, are also seeing there numbers fall at an increasingly worrying rate.

“Many species are slipping away before we can even describe them," said Inger Andersen, IUCN’s director general.

The list also broke the terrifying news that we're set to lose two thirds of the plane t's wild animals by 2020, if we carry on changing their habitation and hunting them at the same rate that we are currently.

“This red list update shows that the scale of the global extinction crisis may be even greater than we thought," says Anderson.

“Governments gathered at the UN biodiversity summit have the immense responsibility to step up their efforts to protect our planet’s biodiversity – not just for its own sake but for human imperatives such as food security and sustainable development."

Giraffe below a distant hot air balloon - Masai Mara, Kenya

Giraffe and balloon

Conversion of wild places into farmland and mining, along with the effect of pollution and a growing human population means that the natural world is in more danger than it has ever been in before.

With numbers like these being released each year, we need to find a way to prevent our systems and protect our wild areas, before we allow many species to continue on their way to mass extinction.

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