A new paper spreads some light on the conservation genetics of the giraffe. Traditionally, one giraffe species with up to eleven subspecies have been recognized. A new study by Fennessy et al. (2016), use data from mtDNA and 7 nuclear loci to conclude that at least four of these lineages should be considered as species under the genetic isolation criterion. The branches are quite deep and monophyletic and the finding thus seems robust. The upgrading of several subspecies to species status should have significant conservation implications.
Evolutionary relationships among Giraffe as determined by a coalescent multi-locus tree from seven nuclear loci (4,294 bp) from 105 giraffe individuals rooted with okapi. Identified are four monophyletic clades with significant support, p > 0.95: southern giraffe (G. giraffa, G. angolensis), Masai giraffe (G. tippelskirchi), reticulated giraffe (G. reticulata), and northern giraffe (G. antiquorum, G. camelopardalis, G. peralta, G. rothschildi). Figure 2A from Fenessey et al.