Masai giraffe

The giraffe species with largest build

Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Known for their graceful movements, these remarkable species have darker skin coats with ivy leaf-shaped patches and jagged edges surrounded by cream-colored gaps. Unlike many other species, they have patches completely covering their limbs. 

Luangwa giraffe and  Masai giraffe are recently identified as two subspecies: 

Luangwa giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti)– their isolated population is confined to Luangwa Valley, eastern Zambia, making them highly susceptible to extinction. Their diet is variable, including flowers, leaves, stems, and grass.

Masai Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) are widely distributed in southern Kenya, central and northern Tanzania, and a small introduced population in Rwanda. 

Hunting and land use change are currently major threats to them. 


Population est.

Recent updates

Feb 2022: A group of researchers published a study in the journal “Ecology and Evolution” that examined the genetic diversity of Masai giraffes in different regions of Kenya. The study found that the giraffes in some areas have low genetic diversity, which could make them more vulnerable to disease and other threats.

Dec 2021: The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) announced the launch of a new conservation initiative called the “Masai Giraffe Conservation Alliance.” The alliance brings together researchers, conservationists, and local communities to work together to protect Masai giraffes in Kenya and Tanzania.

Did you know?

  • The Masai giraffe, also known as the Kilimanjaro giraffe, is the largest giraffe species.
  • Males and females can be distinguished by the shape of the ossicones.
  • Six Masai Giraffes from Kenya were introduced into Akagera N.P. in 1986.
  • This entire world’s isolated population of Luangwa giraffe is confined to the Luangwa Valley, which could be entirely devastated or wiped out by disease or mishap.
  •  Luangwa giraffes are found in a wide variety of habitats and feed on at least 93 species of trees, plants, and fruits in the Luangwa Valley.
  • They are poached for their skin, bones, and tails.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No