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Wildlife Wednesdays: Which Giraffe Is Which at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Matt Hohne

by , Animal Operations Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


Guests who look closely when they’re on the Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will notice that there now are two subspecies of giraffe—reticulated and Masai–roaming the savanna. Can you tell which one is which in this photo by Gene Duncan? The answer is at the bottom of the post.

A couple of hints:

  • The reticulated giraffe’s coat features a pattern of very defined patches that usually are orangish brown. The patches are separated by bright white lines, and the lower part of the legs are a lighter color.
  • The Masai giraffe’s coat features jagged-edged patches. The patches are dark brown on a cream background, making the Masai the darkest-colored subspecies.

Here’s some more information about reticulated and Masai giraffe:

  • Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are widely found in northern Kenya and in Somalia. The Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) can be found in southern Kenya and throughout Tanzania.
  • The reticulated giraffe is more threatened in the wild, with numbers fewer than 5,000. It is estimated that there are fewer than 40,000 Masai giraffe in the wild. Giraffes are threatened by habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, poaching, and human-wildlife conflicts.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is funding–among its 2011 projects–a project that supports the reintroduction in Kenya of yet another subspecies of giraffe, the endangered Rothschild giraffe.

Answer: The reticulated giraffe is in the forefront of the photo. The others are Masai.


  • One of our very own Giraffe babies born at the Norfolk Zoo is now a permanet resident at the Animal Kingdom!She was transfered there last October (if I remember correctly). I know she will be well taken care off.

  • Giraffe’s are my sons favorite animal. We even adopted a giraffe from the Brookfield Zoo for his birthday. He can now say he has a pet giraffe.

  • bye there spots, color and hight……

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