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Rothschild's Giraffe

Extinct throughout much of its former range

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Giraffidae

Genus & Species: Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi


Rothschild's giraffes have the basic appearance of any giraffe subspecies: long legs, a long neck with seven vertebrate, and a leopard-like coat. The main trait that distinguishes the Rothschild's giraffe from the others is the colour of its coat. The coat is pale and thickset when compared to the Masai giraffe, the patches are less jagged and anywhere below the knee is usually unmarked. Rothschild's giraffes reach heights of 5.5 m (18 ft) and weights of 1200 kg (2700 lbs). They have a long tongue used to clean their eyes and ears. Five skin-covered ossicorns are arranged on the top of the head, with a boss in front and two pairs behind it. Rothschild's giraffes have a life expectancy of 20-30 years.


Rothschild's giraffes are found in wooded plains or shrubs and thickets in several countries south of the Saharan desert, including Kenya. They have been exterminated throughout much of their former range.


The Rothschild's giraffe is herbivorous and feeds on thorny acacia trees and other plants by grasping the leaves with its long tongue. They eat throughout much of the day and consume a daily amount of 30 lbs of leaves. The males feed from the top branches and the females from the lower branches, giving the trees a distinct appearance.


Rothschild's giraffes become sexually mature between the ages of 3-5. There is no mating season; they can mate any time of the year. The gestation period is 14-16 months with one calf being born. The young are born with all five horns, or ossicorns, a rarity among mammals.


Lions, hyaenas and leopards are the main enemies of the calves, whereas poachers hunt the fully grown to be made into tourist mementos. All have greatly declined the giraffes' numbers.


Breeding programs have been successful in many Australian zoos. Three young have been born at Perth Zoo, and Melbourne Zoo and Orano Park Wildlife Trust are also trying to breed this subspecies.


Rothschild's giraffe is one of nine subspecies of the giraffe and is related to the okapi .