Wednesday, 15 June 2016

East African Giraffes

The giraffe is the tallest animal on earth reaching up to 19ft 3inches (Male called George who lived at London Zoo). Many people know them for being tall and graceful but there are many things that you may not know.

Did you know that there are 9 different subspecies of giraffe and many of them have multiple names?

Reticulated or Somali Giraffe
Masai or Kilimanjaro Giraffe
Angolan or Smokey Giraffe
Kordofan Giraffe
Nubian Giraffe
South African Giraffe
Nigerian Giraffe 
Thornicroft Giraffe
Ugandan or Baringo Giraffe

Each of these subspecies has it's own qualities that are different from the others. For example if we compared the Masai Giraffe to the Somali Giraffe we get some interesting comparisons.

Masai: Males - 19 feet
            Females - 16 feet
Somali: Males - 18 feet
             Females - 17 feet

Masai: Jagged irregular star-shaped patches, buff coloured below the knee.
Somali: Large liver-coloured (sometimes reddish) patches, in a polygonal pattern outlined nicely by white lines. Unlike the Masai the pattern also covers the legs.

Masai Giraffe                                                           Somali Giraffe

As you can see from the above photos, visually they are very different. Like humans, giraffes are all unique and no two giraffes have the same markings. This can be used to identify individuals.

These particular giraffes used to be found across all of Africa however due to deforestation and their loss of habitat they are now only found in East Africa.