Southern giraffe

The only giraffe species (of four) with population no deceasing

Luca Galuzzi

You can identify this one with irregularly notched, uneven brown patches extending all the way down to its legs. The southern giraffe has two subspecies:

Angolan giraffe (Giraffa giraffa angolensis): they are generally light in color and found alone or in small groups of 3-5, with a herd size of up to 20. Loss of suitable habitat, fragmentation of sub-populations, and risk of hybridization are major threats to them. 

South African giraffe (Giraffa giraffa giraffa): they are very similar to the Angolan giraffe but with a tan background color. Large-scale poaching resulted in local extinction from many places of their home range, but with conservation efforts, they are successfully reintroduced in many places.


Population est.
South Africa

Recent updates

Sep 2021: According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), they had completed the first-ever giraffe translocation in South Africa, moving 14 Southern giraffes from a private reserve in the Eastern Cape to a conservation area in KwaZulu-Natal. The translocation was part of an effort to establish a new population of Southern giraffes and increase their genetic diversity.

Aug 2021: The Taronga Conservation Society Australia announced that it had successfully bred two Southern giraffes in captivity, which was a significant achievement for the species. The calves were born in May and June 2021 and were the first Southern giraffes to be born at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in almost a decade.

Did you know?

  • They constitute half of the total African giraffe population.
  • Other species have a faded color on their legs, but this giraffe keeps the spots all over the limbs. Lower legs are randomly speckled with uneven spots and get smaller as they get closer to the feet.
  • Much of their day is dedicated to feeding. They chew slowly and carefully to avoid the large thorns of the acacias.
  • Despite its name, Angolan giraffes were locally extinct in Angola until recent translocations from Namibia.
  • There are <100 giraffes in Angola after re-introduction onto private land in 2015.
  • The Angolans are light in color, especially in arid regions; they are almost colorless. The spots on their body fade across the rump, giving them a smoky look, also known as a smoky giraffe.

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Get to know me

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

Southern giraffe on banknotes

Zimbabwe 5 Dollars (2016)