Scientists from the Senckenberg and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation have analysed the genetic relationships of all major populations of giraffe in the wild. The large study on the genetic makeup of giraffe, published today in Current Biology, shows that there are four distinct giraffe species. Until now, only one giraffe species had been recognized. The unexpected results are based on analyses using several nuclear marker genes of more than 100 animals. The new insights are set to improve protection efforts of these endangered animals in Africa.