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[DIGEST: Boston Globe, ABC News, National Geographic, The New York Times, The Smithsonian]

In an unexpected turn, giraffes have recently been added to the extinction watch list. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the organization that officially compiles the world’s endangered species list, held a biodiversity meeting in Mexico earlier this month and raised the threat level for 35 species while lowering it for seven species. For the first time, giraffes were stepped up from a species of “least concern” to “vulnerable,” meaning that giraffes could face extinction in the wild if steps aren't taken to minimize the threats that are dwindling the species’ numbers. Giraffes were the only mammal whose position shifted on that list this year.

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