Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The Large Size

Giraffes are the world's tallest mammals, thanks to their towering legs and long necks. A giraffe's legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet. These long legs allow giraffes to run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 10 miles an hour over longer distances.

animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/giraffe/

Population

Current estimates by the GCF have the population at less than 80,000 individuals across all species. This is a considerable drop in the last decade and shows that the giraffe is in real danger. Efforts are underway to build up an accurate census of the entire population. With the exception of Angolan, Cape and West African giraffe, all the other subspecies are either decreasing and/or unstable. Poaching, human population growth, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and habitat degradation still continue to impact on the giraffe’s distribution across the continent.

www.giraffeconservation.org/‎

Life Span

A typical lifespan for a male giraffe in a zoo is about 13 years. Female giraffes tend to live longer and have a typical lifespan of 17 years. A very few males may live as long as 22 years, and some females can reach 30, but most individuals don’t reach these oldest ages. Lifespan in the wild is similar to that of zoos.

www.philadelphiazoo.org

Giraffe's in the Wild

Africa

Home Sweet Home

They live south of the Sahara, although giraffes have disappeared from most of western Africa, except a residual population in Niger.

In the wild, giraffes find most of their food among the tops of trees, eating mostly leaves and shoots. Particularly acacia and combretum trees, as well as flowers, vines and herbs. A giraffe uses its 18-inch long tongue, which is very strong, to strip leaves from tree branches.

www.philadelphiazoo.org

Conservation Laws

The first ever World Giraffe Day will be celebrated on June 21, 2014. As the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere its the most appropriate day to celebrate the tallest animal!


www.giraffeconservation.org/‎

Behavior

Bull giraffes will fight for the right to mate with a female in a highly ritualistic manner known as necking. They face each other and begin rubbing their heads and necks together as if to judge each others weight and strength. As the fight escalates the bulls swing their heads and necks towards each other trying to land blows that are powerful enough to knock the other male off his feet. One male will typically give up and run away, although serious injuries do sometimes occur.

www.philadelphiazoo.org