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Reticulated Giraffe at SF Zoo 14.JPG

The Reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), also known as the Somali giraffe, is a species of giraffe native to Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. There are approximately 8,660 individuals living in the wild. Reticulated giraffes can interbreed with other giraffe species in captivity or if they come into contact with populations of other species in the wild. Once considered a subspecies of the conglomerate Giraffa camelopardalis species, recent studies identified the reticulated giraffe as a separate species of a reorganized Giraffa genus. Together with the Rothschild giraffe, it is by far the giraffe most commonly seen in zoos. Its coat consists of large, polygonal, liver-colored spots outlined by a network of bright-white lines. The blocks may sometimes appear deep red and may also cover the legs. The extraordinary height of giraffes is attributed to a ritual known as "necking", where two males fight for reproduction rights by slamming their necks into one another. The giraffes with the tallest and strongest necks are victorious and allowed to reproduce, thus passing these genes on to future generations. Giraffes historically occurred widely throughout Africa. Their favoured habitats are savannas, woodlands, seasonal floodplains, and rainforests.




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