Males can reach 18’, females can reach 14-15’ (Estes, 2012)



Males: 2500 lbs, Females: 1600 lbs (Estes, 2012)


Mean Longevity (www.aza.org/survival-stats)

Males:  13.5 yrs

Females: 19.5 yrs



Gestation: 14.5 months

Calf weight: 125 – 150 lbs

Calf height: ~ 6’



Giraffes have horn-like structures called ossicones, which are formed from ossified cartilage and covered in skin and fur. Giraffes are one of the few animals born with horns, although they lie flat on the head at birth and become upright and rigid within a few days.



Giraffes use their prehensile tongues to strip leaves from trees for hours each day, and their tongues are pigmented purplish-black in color to help protect them from sunburn


Taxonomy (IUCN)

Kingdom                                  Animalia

Phylum                                     Chordata

Class                                          Mammalia

Order                                         Artiodactyla

Family                                       Giraffidae

Genus                                       Giraffa

Species                                     Camelopardalis


Subspecies (Wilson and Reeder, 1993)

There are currently nine recognized subspecies, thought this may change with further study:

G. c. camelopardalis - Nubian giraffe

G. c. rothschildi - Rothschild’s giraffe (also known as Baringo or Ugandan)

G. c. reticulata - Reticulated giraffe

G. c. antiquorum - Kordofan giraffe

G. c. peralta - West African giraffe

G. c. tippelskirchi - Masai or Kilimanjaro giraffe

G. c. thornicrofti - Thornicroft’s or Rhodesian giraffe

G. c. giraffa - South African or Cape giraffe

G. c. angolensis - Angolan giraffe


Population Size

The total population of giraffes in the wild was estimated to be about 140,000 animals in 1998 (East, 1999). However, the most recent estimates place the population at only around 80,000 individuals (Giraffe Conservation Foundation, 2013).


Primary Threats

The following are the primary conservation threats to giraffes as outlined by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (Giraffe Conservation Foundation, 2013):

·       Poaching

·       Disease due to contact with domestic livestock

·       Fragmentation, degradation and loss of habitat due to pastoralism, the clearing of land for agriculture and the uncontrolled harvesting of timber

·       Fragmentation of habitats leads to isolation of populations and limits gene flow

·       The growth and expansion of the human population

·       Human-giraffe conflict due to crop damage

·       Competition for resources from humans and their livestock

·       War and civil unrest

·       Giraffe outside protected areas sometimes involved in road accidents