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Maasai Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi






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. 



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).  



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.




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



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.