Giraffes were just added to the list of species facing the threat of extinction

Giraffes were just added to the list of species facing the threat of extinction

The world's tallest land mammal may be facing extinction.

Two subspecies of giraffe - out of the nine in existence - have been added to the "critically endangered" list for the first time, according to the latest report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN).

The Kordofan and Nubian subspecies - which are mostly found across East, Central and West Africa - have been classified as "critically endangered", while the reticulated giraffe - native to the Horn of Africa - is reportedly "endangered".

MASHATU, BOTSWANA - JULY 27: A tower of giraffes at sunrise in the Mashatu game reserve on July 27, 2010 in Mapungubwe, Botswana. Mashatu is a 46,000 hectare reserve located in Eastern Botswana where the Shashe river and Limpopo river meet. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

Co-chair of the ICUN Species Survival Commission Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, Dr. Julian Fennessey, said in a statement that giraffes are "under severe pressure in some of its core ranges across East, Central, and West Africa…we have been sounding the alarm for a few years now."

This is partially due to illegal hunting and civil unrest in those areas of the continent, as well as loss of habitat due to agriculture and mining.

While things are not looking positive for the Kordofan and Nubian giraffes, two other subspecies - the West African and the Rothschild's - have had their conservation status upgraded. Arthur Muenza, East Africa coordinator of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, asserted "This is a conservation success story and highlights the value of making proactive giraffe conservation and management efforts in critical populations across the continent."

He finished by imploring conservationists to step up their efforts, especially with the newly "critically endangered" subspecies.