Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Artiodactyla, Suborder:
Ruminantia, Family: Giraffidae
People have marveled over the giraffe's height and beauty
for thousands of years. When the first zoo was established
by Queen Hatshepsut 3,500 years ago, a giraffe was transported
1,500 miles down the Nile River for the Queen's zoo. In
1827, when a giraffe was placed on public display for the
first time in Paris, it nearly caused a riot. The arrival
of the giraffe also started a fashion frenzy, influencing
hairstyles, clothing, and accessories. It's the giraffe's
speed, not its height, that gave it its name. "Giraffe"
comes from the Arab word xirapha (zee-RAF-ah), which means
"the one that walks very fast". There is only 1 species
GIFAFFE'S RELATIVES: The rare okapi is an animal confined
to a small region within the Congo Basin and only discovered
early this century. This animal is the rainforest ancestor
of the giraffe.
WHERE IT LIVES: Wherever there are trees in the Sahara.
Eliminated from most of West African and southern Kalahari
range but still reasonably common even outside wildlife
WHERE TO SEE IT: Many different parts of eastern Africa.
This animal is most approachable along well traveled roads
in the popular national parks of Africa.