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.