Reticulated giraffe

The most common giraffe in zoos is the second most endangered giraffe species

Steve Garvie

Reticulated giraffe


The most common giraffe in zoos is the second most endangered giraffe species

Population 16,000
80% decrease in the past 30 years

With its striking appearance characterized by a uniform reddish-brown coat adorned with intricate white lines forming a distinctive net-like pattern, it commands attention to the African savannahs. Found predominantly in the northern and eastern regions of Kenya, these majestic creatures often inhabit areas where pastoralism is the predominant way of life, coexisting alongside local communities and their cattle herds.

Reticulated giraffes exhibit a fission-fusion social system, displaying a complex network of relationships within their herds. While they typically form cohesive groups, their herd sizes have shown a concerning trend of decreasing in recent years, posing challenges to their conservation.

Despite their iconic status and cultural significance, reticulated giraffe populations have experienced a precipitous decline in recent decades. Approximately 30 years ago, the estimated population stood at a substantial 36,000 individuals. However, alarming data from 2018 reveals a staggering 56% decline, with only 11,048 individuals remaining. This decline can be attributed to various factors, including bushmeat hunting, habitat loss due to human encroachment, and habitat fragmentation resulting from development activities.

In response to the dwindling numbers of reticulated giraffes, conservation efforts have been implemented to address the key drivers of population decline. Awareness campaigns aimed at local communities and stakeholders raise awareness about the importance of giraffe conservation and the threats facing these iconic animals. Additionally, grazing management strategies are being employed to mitigate the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation, ensuring that giraffes have access to sufficient forage and habitat resources.

Protection measures, including the establishment of protected areas and wildlife reserves, aim to safeguard critical giraffe habitats and provide a sanctuary for these vulnerable animals. Through collaborative efforts between government agencies, conservation organizations, and local communities, conservationists are working tirelessly to secure a future for reticulated giraffes in their natural habitats.


Population est.
South Sudan

Recent updates

2022: A group of researchers published a study in the journal “Conservation Science and Practice” that examined the conservation status of reticulated giraffes in Kenya. The study found that the giraffes face significant threats from habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict and recommended increased conservation efforts to protect the species.

June 2022: The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) announced the launch of a new conservation initiative called the “Reticulated Giraffe Conservation Alliance.” The alliance brings together researchers, conservationists, and local communities to work together to protect reticulated giraffes in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

Did you know?

  • They are also known as Somali or Netted giraffes.
  • The small population is believed to be in southern Ethiopia and in south-western Somalia, but their numbers are unknown.
  • Their tails are long.
  • They are ruthlessly killed for their skin and tails, which are used for making bracelets, fly swatches, containers, threads, and shoelaces.
  • Oromo used only containers made from Giraffe skin to milk or water their cattle, considering other materials to bring ill luck, including the loss of livestock.

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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