Relationship with humans

Cultural significance
 
In Africa, the giraffe has been revered as a religious symbol, kept as a pet and traded as a diplomatic offering of goodwill. The Bushmen have medicine dances named after some animals; the giraffe dance is performed to cure head ailments. Giraffes were commonly depicted in rock and cave art throughout the continent. Some of the earliest of these pictures were made by the palaeolithic Kiffian people, who lived around 8000 BC in modern-day Niger. The sghsfgKiffian were responsible for a life-size rock engraving of two giraffes, which has been called the "world's largest rock art petroglyph". The Ancient Egyptians commonly depicted giraffes in tomb paintings and may have kept them as pets. The Egyptians shipped giraffes from East Africa and exported them from Alexandria to ports around the Mediterranean. Giraffes were also known to the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans, who referred to them as camelopardalis, a name thought to have derived from the belief that the giraffe was an unnatural cross between a camel and a leopard. The giraffe was among the many animals collected and displayed by the Romans as exotic spoils of conquered lands The first giraffe in Rome was imported by Julius Caesar and exhibited to the public.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the people of Europe were no longer able to keep and display giraffes. During the Middle Ages, giraffes were mostly forgotten by Europeans, except in legends from Arab travelers. Arab prophets and poets considered the giraffe the "queen of beasts" for what they saw as its delicate features and fragile form. Eastern sultans prized them as special pets. In 1414, a giraffe was taken from Malindi (in what is now Kenya) to Bengal. It was then taken to China by explorer Zheng He and placed in a Ming Dynasty zoo. Its arrival caused a sensation, as it was thought to be the mythical Qilin. The Medici giraffe was a giraffe presented to Lorenzo de' Medici in 1486. It caused a great stir on its arrival in Florence, being reputedly the first living giraffe to be seen in Italy since antiquity. Another famous giraffe, called Zarafa, was brought from Egypt to Paris in the early 19th century. A sensation, Zarafa was the subject of numerous memorabilia or "giraffanalia".
Giraffes continue to have a presence in modern culture. Salvador Dalí depicted them in some of his surrealist paintings, most often in various states of conflagration. Dali considered the giraffe to be a symbol of masculinity, and a flaming giraffe was meant to be a "masculine cosmic apocalyptic monster". Giraffes have also appeared in animated films, as minor characters in The Lion King and Dumbo, and in more prominent roles in The Wild and in the Madagascar films. Sophie the Giraffe is a popular teether that has been a favorite toy for babies since 1961. Another famous fictional giraffe is the Toys "R" Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe.
The giraffe has also been used for some scientific experiments and discoveries. Its skin has been studied by scientists developing suits for astronauts and fighter pilots. The properties of the skin have been useful for these studies, since people in these professions face the risk of passing out if blood rushes to their legs. Computer scientists have modeled the coat patterns of several subspecies using reaction-diffusion mechanisms. The constellation of Camelopardalis depicts a giraffe.
 
Conservation status
 
Giraffes were probably a favorite target for the hunters of the Sahara, the Kalahari and central and eastern Africa. They were hunted for their tails, hides and meat. The tails were used as good luck charms, for thread and as flyswatters; the skin was used for shields, sandals and drums; the tendons were used for stringed instruments and thread; the hairs were used to make necklaces and bracelets. The smoke of burning giraffe skins was prescribed by the medicine men of Buganda as a cure for persistent nose bleeding. European explorers also hunted them. Habitat destruction has hurt the giraffe, too: in the Sahel, trees are cut down for firewood and to make way for livestock. Normally, giraffes can coexist with livestock, since they feed in the trees above their heads.
Overall, the giraffe is assessed as Least Concern from a conservation perspective by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as it still is widespread and occurs in numerous reserves. However, giraffes have been extirpated from many parts of their former range, including Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Guinea, Malawi, Mauritania and Senegal. They may also have disappeared from Angola, Mali and Nigeria. Two subspecies, the West African giraffe and the Rothschild giraffe, have been classified as endangered, as wild populations of each of them number in the hundreds. In 1997, Jonathan Kingdon suggested that the Nubian giraffe was the most threatened of all giraffes; as of 2010, it may number fewer than 250, but little recent information is available and consequently that estimate is the subject of considerable uncertainty. While giraffe populations have declined in western Africa, they are stable and expanding in southern Africa thanks to private game reserves. The giraffe is a protected species in most of its range. In 1999, the total African giraffe population was estimated at over 140,000. However, estimates in 2010 indicate that fewer than 80,000 remain.
 
 
 
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