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two baby masai giraffes
All Animals

Masai Giraffe

The giraffe is the tallest living animal, uniquely adapted to reach plants high off the ground that other animals can't get to. Giraffes have a distinctive walking gait, moving both right legs forward and then both left. Dominance between males is established by swinging heads at one another and intertwining necks in tests of strength; you might see this behavior on your next visit to our giraffes.


Animal Facts

Scientific Name

Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi


Masai giraffes live in Tanzania and southern Kenya. (other giraffe varieties are found other places in Africa.)

Location in the Zoo

African Forest

Cool Animal Fact

Giraffe ‘horns’ aren’t actually horns at all – they are called ossicones, which are formed by cartilage and covered in skin. When babies are born, their ossicones don’t quite stand up all the way – they start standing up straight as they grow.

How we Help Save Them

  • We provide support for a giraffe protection program in Kenya that creates a healthy and safe habitat for giraffes and other wildlife. Hirola are one of the rarest antelope in the world and they live in the same area as giraffes. This work is saving giraffe, hirola, lions, African wild dog, and many other species.
  • We provide salaries and training for Kenyan rangers conducting daily patrols.
    • Rangers made 4 arrests of illegal hunters and removed 120 wire traps protecting giraffe and other wildlife in 2019.
  • 200 Kenyan community members celebrated the work they are doing to protect giraffe on World Giraffe Day (June 21, 2019)

How You Can Help

Visit the Zoo! Every time you visit the Houston Zoo, you help us with this work to save giraffes in the wild.

Donate to help giraffes and hirola in the wild.


Giraffe News / More ›

Houston Zoo’s Elderly Female Giraffe Dies
June 5, 2020

Houston Zoo’s Elderly Female Giraffe Dies

Good News: We are Ensuring Giraffes are Protected in the Wild
May 18, 2020

Good News: We are Ensuring Giraffes are Protected in the Wild

Happy New Year!
December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!