Masai Giraffe has short blonde hair with bangs parting three ways, featuring brown ends on the center parting and off-white tips on the left and right partings. The center parting also features a round, prominent patch of a warm brown. A lower layer of her bangs, framing her face, is off-white on both sides, with star and oval-shaped brown patches which shrink the higher up they are and fade the closer they are to her face. In the back she sports a warm-brown ponytail, which curls up and out just before reaching her waist region. Atop her head can be found off-white giraffe ears with brown tufts inside, and a pair of the horn-like ossicones typical of a giraffe; so too do they end in brown tufts. Her eyes are brown, with hints of red. She also possesses a long, straight, pale-yellow giraffe tail with round, warm-brown spots, bearing a brown tuft at its tip.
Masai Giraffe wears two top layers. The inner top layer is a long-sleeved white garment featuring a scattering of warm-brown spots, which shrink and fade as they run down the sleeves and approach the garment's slightly baggy wrists; the outer top layer is a yellow blouse with a V-neck cut and short sleeves bearing a brown collar and cuffs respectively, as well as a vertical trio of brown fabric or leather cords running horizontally across her torso and belly. Around her neck, a long pale-yellow scarf ending in warm-brown tassels is worn; this scarf is adorned with spots of that same warm brown in a variety of shapes, including a star-shaped spot below her chin and, notably, the jagged leaf-shaped spots which are the signature of the Masai giraffe. These particular patches are concentrated at the flowing end draping prominently in front of the Friend, highlighting them against her many other spots.
Around her waist she dons a brown miniskirt of a thick fabric, with a knife-pleated hem; this skirt is held up by a blue belt sporting a gold buckle, decorated with a white star. She wears stockings which are pale yellow at her upper thighs, then fade into white from her lower thighs downwards. Likewise, they have warm-brown spots which become smaller and fainter the lower on the legs they are. She wears white high-top shoes with warm-brown ribbon-like laces, brown toes with a "cloven" appearance- possibly evoking a giraffe's cloven hoof- and brown out-soles.
The ponytail she sports is tied with a pale gold ribbon, and fastened or decorated at the base with a blue star-shaped clip.
In Real Life
The Masai giraffe- also known as the Maasai giraffe (an arguably more proper spelling, as the name comes from that of the indigenous Maasai peoples of Kenya and Tanzania) or Kilimanjaro giraffe- is a species or subspecies of giraffe native to East Africa; which one of these is considered correct depends on the taxonomic authority being consulted. Under the IUCN and current standards of taxonomy, it is regarded as Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi- a subspecies of what they consider to be the sole species of giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis. However, it was formerly considered its own species- Giraffa tippelskirchi- and modern analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA suggest this may have been the more correct way to identify these animals, although those who initially classified it wouldn't have known why they were correct.
The Masai giraffe is distinguished from other giraffes in two primary ways- for one, it is the largest of the giraffes, thereby making it the tallest land animal on Earth both currently alive and identified. Secondly, its coat boasts irregular, highly variable spots, which may vary anywhere from ovular to jagged and leaf-like; the fuzzy-edged, jagged spots are greatly iconic of the Masai giraffe.
In 2015, the Masai giraffe was proposed to be classified as Endangered by the IUCN, and in 2016 this ruling was implemented for its Red List, detailing species at risk. Although reports from 2016 through 2021 indicated positive trends in Masai giraffe populations, reports in mid-2023 from Penn State University in Pennsylvania, USA began to circulate that wild populations of the Masai giraffe were more threatened than previously believed, due to population division and consequent inbreeding. Whether this will cause its status on the IUCN Red List to change once again remains to be seen by conservationists.
- The Masai giraffe is the national animal of Tanzania.
- Human efforts to preserve Masai giraffe populations have shown merit; there are over 100 captive Masai giraffes in AZA-certified zoos across the United States of America, and cows (females) are known to respond positively to captive breeding efforts.
- Although the status of the Masai giraffe as a unique species or as a subspecies of Giraffa camelopardalis is the subject of debate, there are further theories suggesting that the Masai giraffe itself can be divided into two species- the Masai giraffe proper, Giraffa tippelskirchi tippelskirchi, and the Luangwa giraffe- Giraffa tippelskirchi thornicrofti.
- The latter part- or specific name, in binomial nomenclature terms- of its scientific name, Giraffa tippelskirchi, comes from the last name of Herr von Tippelskirch, a member of the German 1896 expedition which initially identified the Masai giraffe to European taxonomists.
- Masai giraffes at a gallop have clocked in at speeds of nearly 64km/h, or 40mph.