A huge part of the success of Kenyan tourism is thanks to the amazing wildlife that Kenyan soil offers. That being said, we will be periodically posting insightful and informative articles about some of the unique animals here. The aim is to make you more familiar with the wildlife you are going to experience once you are in Kenya, thus making your encounter more special and meaningful. Today we look at the Rothschild’s Giraffe. Below are some facts to know about this giraffe subspecies.
Name and Population
The Rothschild Giraffe was named after a great British Zoologist, Walter Rothschild. It is also referred to as the Ugandan Giraffe and the Baringo Giraffe, two areas where they can still be found. The Rothschild Giraffe, however, is among the most endangered of giraffe subspecies, with just a little over 1600 individuals alive in the wild today. Some parts of Uganda, Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Baringo, Lake Naivasha and the Giraffe Center Nairobi are the only place that still hosts few herds, with the Southern Sudan group believed to be extinct.
The Rothschild Giraffe is considered the tallest subspecies growing up to 5.88 meters in height and an average of 800kilos in adulthood. The Rothschild Giraffe has a gestation period of between 14 and 16 months, bearing one calf commonly. In Kenya, there are two other subspecies i.e. The Maasai Giraffe and the Reticulated Giraffe. The Rothschild has specific physical differences between the two including:
- Its spots only go to knee length with the rest of the lower leg being white. It makes the giraffe look like it is wearing white socks.
- The giraffe is the only subspecies seen to have five ossicones. These hornlike features grow on giraffes. The rest have two or three.
The Rothschild Giraffe live in small herds. However, males and females live separately and only meet to mate. They do not have a specific mating season like most animals. The females live together with their young ones until it is time for the males to separate. The giraffes are not a threat and can be friendly as long as they do not deem your presence a scare to them or their child. Females help raise the young as a herd and mother-child bond is the strongest.
The Rothschild Giraffe faces a threat from both poachers and predators. The young ones have a very low mortality rate of only 50%. That might explain why their numbers are growing at very low rates, considering only one calf can be born at a time.