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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

  • The Houston Zoo supports a giraffe and hirola antelope conservation program in Kenya protecting and creating valuable habitat for these two and many other species.
  • Supported training for 25 rangers to protect wild giraffes in Africa.
  • Reticulated giraffe population estimates were initiated in Eastern Kenya, anti-poaching patrols initiated, and a monitoring plan put in place.
  • Giraffe watering troughs were repaired, and water was provided to giraffes during a prolonged, severe drought.

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:

Donate Today

How We Help Save the Hirola

  • Wildlife Warrior award winner, Ali, gained a certificate in computer studies. He is now in charge of data in the field and is training other hirola rangers on his new set of skills.
  • 40 members of the Herders for Hirola program were trained in wildlife tracking and monitoring techniques.
  • Celebrated World Hirola Day in Garissa County. Increased the awareness of more than 500 locals on the plight of hirolas.
  • Monthly school visits to a total of 12 schools, reaching 480 students within the hirola’s region creating awareness on wildlife and habitat conservation.

Giraffe News / More ›

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December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

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October 2, 2019

Fall in Love with the Houston Zoo’s Newest Baby

2018 Saving Wildlife Successes
January 1, 2019

2018 Saving Wildlife Successes