In a quiet corner of the park next to the waters of Lake Chabot is home for reticulated giraffe. As the tallest living land animal, the giraffe stands head and tails above the rest. Of the nine subspecies of giraffe, reticulated are the most commonly seen, recognized by the large, polygonal spots outlined in white lines. Did you know that every giraffe has a unique pattern of spots, just like a human fingerprint?
The long legs and the very long neck give giraffes an impressive height allowing them access to high foliage, beyond the reach of most other larger browsers and their skin coloring provides excellent camouflage. The long eyelids keep out insects and can even sense thorns on tree branches.
Visit the giraffe dock for a chance to feed a giraffe (for a nominal fee, space is limited). You’ll see their purplish-black tongues reach for browse or produce as it stretches as long as 18 inches. Giraffes have big eyes and a powerful sense of sight, smell, and hearing.
FUN FACT: In 2011, a young male reticulated giraffe born at the park was named Brandon after San Francisco Giants slugger Brandon Belt. Belt was nicknamed “Baby Giraffe” by Giants announcer Duane Kuiper. Brandon and Brandon met for the first time a few days after he was born and Brandon the player and his wife often stop by to see how Brandon the giraffe is doing.
CONSERVATION STATUS: Conservation Dependent. Reticulated giraffes are now found mostly on the managed preserves and wildlife parks in Africa due to poaching and human encroachment in the wild. Numbers have declined significantly just in the last 10 years.
How You Can Help: Do not buy products made from giraffe body parts. Giraffes are hunted for meat and hair for making bracelets and thread. The skin is also used for shield covers and sinew for bowstrings, even fly swatters, bags and buckets. To ensure their continued survival, giraffes need large areas of habitat for their feeding ranges. This means protection of their environment and habitat preservation.