Wildlife meeting backs more protection for giraffes

Wildlife-supporting countries on Thursday backed regulating international trade in giraffes in a bid to offer more protection to the gentle giants, feared to be facing a "silent extinction".

Human settlements and rainfall affect giraffe home ranges

Giraffes that live close to densely populated towns have larger home ranges than giraffes that live far from towns, according to a new study by an international team of wildlife researchers from the University of Z├╝rich, ...

Researchers work to find the giraffe in the bushes

Giraffe are the tallest animal on earth, so naturally scientists have turned to big data solutions for giraffe conservation. Researchers from the Penn State and Wild Nature Institute are conducting one of the biggest large ...

Niger to move protected giraffes as habitat shrinks

Part of a group of a rare giraffes that has become a Niger tourist attraction is to be moved to a reserve 600 kilometres (400 miles) away owing to encroaching desert, farmland and increasing instances of them being struck ...

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The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all extant land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. Its scientific name, which is similar to its archaic English name of camelopard, refers to its irregular patches of color on a light background, which bear a vague resemblance to a leopard's spots, and its face, which is similar to that of a camel. In addition to these features, the giraffe is noted for its extremely long neck and legs and prominent horns. It stands 5–6 meters (16–20 ft) tall and has an average weight of 1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb) for males and 830 kilograms (1,800 lb) for females. It is classified under the family Giraffidae, along with its closest extant relative, the okapi. There are nine subspecies of giraffe, which differ in size, coloration, pattern and range.

The giraffe's range extends from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south and from Niger in the west to Somalia in the east, but it is very scattered. Giraffes usually inhabit savannas, grasslands and open woodlands. They prefer areas with plenty of acacia trees, which are important food sources. Thanks to their extreme height, giraffes can browse for vegetation that most other herbivores cannot reach. They are also nearly invulnerable to predation, although lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, wild dogs and Nile crocodiles prey on calves, and lions take adults in some areas. Although they commonly gather together, giraffe aggregations usually disband every few hours. Male giraffes use their necks to hit each other in combat, a behavior known as "necking". Males mate with multiple females. Females bear the sole responsibility for raising their young.

The giraffe has been prized by various cultures, both ancient and modern, for its peculiar appearance, and has often featured in paintings, novels and cartoons. Despite its popularity, it has been extirpated from many parts of its former range, and some subspecies are classified as endangered. Nevertheless, it is still found in numerous reserves. As a species, the giraffe is classified by the IUCN as Least Concern.

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