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Maasai Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi


 

 

 

 

Description:

Giraffe are the tallest terrestrial animal.  The color pattern varies and can be used to identify individuals.  The spots on this subspecies resemble leaves with their uneven outline.  6 feet tall at birth, they grow up to 18 feet in height.  The neck has a short mane and the tail is tipped with a tuft of hair.   As with most mammals, giraffe have 7 cervical vertebrae; they are greatly elongated. 

 

Status:

The decline in wild populations is attributed to excessive hunting and climatic changes.  Cooperative management of this species falls under a Species Survival Plan (SSP).  

 

Breeding:  

May occur throughout the year.  Gestation is 14 months.  Usually one calf is born .  The 6 foot tall newborn calf stands within 20 - 40 minutes of birth and will suckle within an hour.  A calf may nurse for 13 months and remain with its mother for another 2 to 5 months.   Sexual maturity is reached at 3.5 years in females and 4.5 years in males.  Females attain full adult size in 5 years and males in 7 years.

 

The pair of Maasai Giraffe at the Ellen Trout Zoo have produced two calves and are expecting a third in the next year.  This subspecies of giraffe is relatively uncommon in zoos so offspring are relocated to other zoos to be paired with suitable mates.

 

 

Behavior:  

Sparring for dominance among males involves two or more individuals standing parallel, swinging their necks, and striking with their heads from the side.  

 

Vocalization:  

May grunt or snort when alarmed.  Females whistle to call young and calves bleat.

 

At the Zoo:

Maasai Giraffe at the Ellen Trout Zoo share a naturalistic enclosure with other species including Sulcatta tortoises, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Bontebok antelope, White-faced Tree Ducks, and Cape Teal.