Africa, South of the Sahara Desert
Giraffe feeding habits help to maintain the open woodlands inhabited by other animals on the savanna. On the African savanna, the giraffe can reach higher in the trees than an outstretched elephant trunk. Using a special joint at the base of the skull, they can also extend their necks vertically.
Giraffes can grow 19 feet tall and weigh up to 3,000 pounds. Their necks can extend up to 6 feet long.
DID YOU KNOW?
Both humans and giraffes have the same number of neck vertebrae - seven! With its towering size and powerful legs the giraffe has a dominating appearance, but it is a very peaceful animal until it is threatened. Approaching lions and hyenas had better steer clear as these gentle giants will not hesitate to defend themselves by using their front legs to deliver a deadly kick.
MORE ABOUT OUR ANIMALS:
We have three male giraffes. AJ was born on March 27, 2008, Bonsu was born on September 28, 2008, and Juma was born on June 1, 2007, AJ and Bonsu were born at Disney World in Florida. Juma was born at the Albuquerque Zoo in New Mexico. Juma is a reticulated giraffe. The reticulated subspecies is down to less than 5,000 from an estimated population of 28,000 in 1998. As a result, many consider them to be near threatened and, if the trend continues, endangered status will not be far behind. Bonsu and Juma are Rothschild giraffe hybrids. The Rothschild is one of the most endangered giraffe subspecies. The Rothschild giraffe can be told apart from the reticulated giraffe by the thicker white lines between the spots.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN CONSERVATION EFFORTS:
Read about giraffes online and check out books from your local library. Become a member of the El Paso Zoological Society. Funds raised by the Society are used to support conservation efforts at the El Paso Zoo and in the wild.
JUST FOR KIDS
Get up close and personal with Aj, Bonsu and Juma, the Zoo's three male giraffes! Feed them along with their zookeepers, but watch out for their 15-inch long tongues because they will snatch the lettuce right out of your hand if you’re not paying attention! Our boys are friendly and truly enjoy the special treats given to them by their visiting friends and above all, they promise to provide a fun experience. The cost of each Giraffe Encounter is $3 which includes three lettuce leaves. Fees are collected near the entrance to the encounter area across from the Kalahari Research Station as soon as the keepers give the green light that the giraffes are ready.