Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes Its First Ever Masai Giraffe Birth

In today’s moment of cuteness, Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently welcomed its first ever Masai giraffe calf. Masai and reticulated are the two subspecies of giraffe found on the savannas of Kilimanjaro Safaris. The Masai giraffe is native to the plains of southern Kenya and throughout Tanzania.

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This as yet unnamed calf will be out exploring his new savanna home within the next few weeks. But in the meantime the Disney Parks Blog is hosting a poll to name the baby giraffe. The choices are: Baraka, meaning blessing; Knodo, meaning battle; Baridi, meaning frost; Shingo, meaning long neck; Asani, meaning rebellious; and Mosi, meaning first. Frost is my last name, so I kinda like that one.

Giraffe trivia and fun facts below the jump:

  • There are two subspecies of giraffe—Masai and reticulated—roaming the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna. Most are now Masai giraffe. Disney has moved most of the reticulated giraffe to the savannas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
  • The Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) can be found in southern Kenya and throughout Tanzania. Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are widely found in northern Kenya and in Somalia.
  • 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. 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.
  • It is estimated that there are fewer than 40,000 Masai giraffe in the wild. The reticulated giraffe is more threatened in the wild, with numbers fewer than 5,000. Giraffes are threatened by habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, poaching, and human-wildlife conflicts.
  • The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) helps to support conservation programs for wildlife like giraffes. For example, through a recent project, the DWCF helped Tusk Trust USA and the Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy reintroduce Rothschild’s giraffes in Kenya. This program also enhances community awareness of wildlife conservation through anti-poaching, wildlife monitoring, and educational programs in local schools. Since its inception in 1995, the DWCF has provided more than $4.5 million to support habitat conservation for giraffes and other African wildlife. Through a collaboration with Disneynature and the “See ‘African Cats,’ Save the Savanna” campaign, the DWCF also helped the African Wildlife Foundation to protect more than 65,000 acres of land in Kenya’s Amboseli Wildlife Corridor to enable indigenous animals including giraffes, cheetahs, and lions to roam freely between protected habitats.

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