New Masai Giraffe on Exhibit

By Tonja Swank, Public Relations Coordinator

One of the Sacramento Zoo’s newest residents, a young Masai giraffe, is becoming acquainted with his new roommates. “Chifu” came to the Sacramento Zoo from San Diego in mid-April and has completed a 30-day quarantine. He is now exploring the exhibit and getting to know the Zoo’s three female Reticulated giraffes, Val, Skye and Goodie.

“You may not see him often during his first weeks out; it will depend on how comfortable he is with the exhibit on any particular day,” said Harrison Edell, General Curator. “Introductions between animals can sometimes be challenging, but once those introductions are complete, we can look forward to seeing him explore his surroundings with his new herd!”

Born December 1, 2009, Chifu stands approximately 11 feet tall and is expected to reach between 16 and 19 feet. Chifu’s name comes from the Swahili word for “Chief.” Keepers have found that Chifu loves Pony Pops, a molasses and grain-based treat.

The Tall Wonders giraffe habitat was designed with the capacity to hold up to six adult animals. Working cooperatively with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan®, the Zoo will acquire a female Masai giraffe in the future. The three female Reticulated giraffes will remain at the Sacramento Zoo but will not breed with Chifu.

The Masai giraffe is the largest giraffe subspecies and is found in southern Kenya and Tanzania. Aside from a difference in size, Reticulated and Masai giraffes tend to have slightly different spots. A Masai giraffe's spots are usually darker and irregular in shape.

Watch the video below to see his first day on exhibit, or view on Youtube.

Chifu is smaller than the other three females and has darker spots.
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