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Rothschild’s giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi

Rothschild’s giraffe

Rothschild’s giraffes, also known as Baringo giraffes, are one of the most endangered of the nine giraffe sub-species. The Rothschild’s giraffe can be distinguished from other sub-species by its white leg stockings which have no markings on them.

Giraffe are the tallest of all land mammals, growing up to 6 metres in height. The gestation period is 15 months and when young are born they can stand at 5 to 6 feet in height. Their necks may be long but they still only have the seven vertebrate which are common to all mammals, including us. They also have long, tough, dark-coloured tongues which they use to pick leaves off trees. Special splayed incisor teeth also help them to strip the leaves away from the branches.

Belfast Zoo is home to an award winning breeding herd of Rothschild’s giraffe that share their enclosure with Grant’s zebra and ostrich, like they would in their savannah home. 

On Sunday 7 May 2017 after a 15 month pregnancy, Gilbert was born born to mother, Daisy and father, Finn.

Habitat
Desert and savannah

Diet - Herbivore
Giraffes eat new shoots, leaves and bark of shrubs and trees. They particularly like acacia trees.

Size
Giraffes can grow up to six metres tall. They can weigh up to 1,500 kilograms.

Location
Rothschild’s giraffes are found in bush, savannah and semi-desert areas in western Kenya and eastern Uganda.

Conservation status
The IUCN believes these giraffes are widespread throughout much of their wild range. However, they also think some populations have declined and believe there may be between 40 and a few hundred giraffes living in some parts of the wild.

Threats
Uncontrolled poaching is the most serious threat to giraffes and is responsible for their population decline in north and west Africa.

Current population
Experts believe there are around 141,000 giraffes left in the wild. Southern populations are stable but other species, including the Rothschild’s, western and reticulated varieties, could be reduced to a few small, protected populations.

Zoo population
There is an EEP for Rothschild’s giraffes. There are around 580 living in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

EEP - European Endangered Species Programme

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