NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Move over April, the Virginia Zoo giraffes have a following of their own

Posted at 12:57 PM, Apr 19, 2017

NORFOLK, Va. - Millions watched a live stream of a very pregnant April the giraffe for weeks, but right here in Hampton Roads, a trio of giraffes have their own following!

The Virginia Zoo’s Africa-Okavango Delta exhibit features Masai giraffes.

Male Billy is joined by females Imara and Noelly.

"They are just beautiful. They are just kind of majestic creatures that are not like anything else that you ever see. I think they are just fascinating," lead Africa exhibit zookeeper Jennifer McNamara told News 3's Todd Corillo Wednesday.

Found in Tanzania and southern Kenya, these giraffes are considered vulnerable because their population is decreasing as a result of habitat degradation and poaching.

Some fun facts about Masai giraffes provided by the Virginia Zoo: 

  • Masai giraffes are the largest subspecies of giraffe and the tallest land mammal on Earth.
  • Males reach heights of up to 18 feet tall and females can grow to 14 feet tall.
  • Females reach maturity at 4-5 years old and bear one offspring after a 15-month gestation period.
  • The female gives birth standing up and the baby is dropped about six feet to the ground.
  • Their very long neck has the same number of vertebrae (7) as humans and most other mammals.