Description:GiraffeSulcatta

Giraffes 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, giraffes 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 anGiraffe_head_web 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 has produced two calves and is 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.