A "SILENT extinction” has led to a 40% drop in giraffe numbers since 1985. The fall is driven by expansion of farmland and illegal hunting, according to Red List - the body that keeps track of endangered species. Numbers of the world's tallest creature are about 98,000, compared with about 160,000 in 1985. The Red List is compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an association of scientists, governments and activists. It rates the giraffe "vulnerable” to extinction for the first time, against a previous rating of "least concern”.