Giraffe Extinction: Using Science and Technology to Save the Gentle Giants

Twenty-First Century. Oct. 2019. 128p. bibliog. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781541532380.
Gr 6-9–In this slim volume crammed with information, readers learn why the world’s giraffe population has decreased by 40 percent since 1985. Written in short chapters interspersed with color photographs and infographics, this title will appeal to striving readers. It’s packed with facts about the giraffe’s taxonomy, its nine subspecies, and the threats to its population in Africa. Plenty of teens are interested in endangered species, but this title is probably better suited to those doing research rather than to casual readers. The author delves into great detail about the illegal poaching, deforestation, diseases, military conflicts, and human overpopulation that are causing the rapid decline in the giraffe’s numbers. Though the volume is marketed to high school readers, the explanation of simple terms like symbiosis and parasites indicates that the book might be better suited to a middle school audience. The two photos of giraffes that have been killed might upset younger readers, but the book ends on a hopeful note, focusing on the conservation efforts of various independent organizations. Anderson also suggests that readers can use social media to spread awareness, particularly on World Giraffe Day, June 21. The author’s meticulous research is apparent from the extensive back matter, including source notes, a bibliography, and suggested further reading.
VERDICT Purchase for school and public libraries where endangered species are a hot research topic.

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