Masai giraffes

Reticulated Giraffe Project

Over the past 15 years, giraffe numbers have steadily declined from an estimated 140,000 to around 90,000 today. In fact, giraffes moved from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Despite these alarming figures, giraffes have received a surprisingly small amount of research, particularly when compared to other large animals including elephants and rhinos. However, a groundbreaking genetic study may give more weight to the study of giraffe populations in the future.

Up to this point, only one species of giraffe, comprised of several subspecies, had been known to exist. Taking into account skin biopsies on 190 giraffes throughout Africa, Current Biology’s new study finds that there are, in fact, four very distinct species. These four species include northern giraffe, southern giraffe, reticulated giraffe, and Masai giraffe, the latter being the species that can be seen at Franklin Park Zoo.

With these new findings, the hope is that giraffe conservation will gain new attention on the global map. To that end, Zoo New England is a proud supporter of the Reticulated Giraffe Project.


The Reticulated Giraffe Project aims to halt, and ultimately reverse, the current decline in giraffe populations. Its work incorporates a variety of methods to support giraffe study and conservation, including:

  • Conducting field research
  • Generating awareness and sharing conservation messages with local schools, universities and community groups
  • Providing support to protected-area personnel and local communities
  • Working with governmental officials in developing effective conservation policies.

Learn more about the Reticulated Giraffe Project.

Here at Zoo New England

AZA-accredited zoos and their partners are working collectively to help save giraffes through education, scientific research, field work, public awareness and action. Here's more of what we're doing here at Zoo New England to protect this species:

AZA SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction

We're proud to support the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' SAFE initiative: A commitment to harness our collective resources, focus on specific endangered species (including giraffes), and save them from extinction by restoring healthy populations in the wild. More

Species Survival Program

Zoo New England participates in the Masai giraffe Species Survival Plan. By sharing research and knowledge, participating institutions work together to establish guidelines that best ensure the health of captive populations, and with success, the survival of otherwise extinct species.

Quarters for Conservation

Through our Quarters for Conservation program, from July, 2018 through January, 2019, a portion of every admission ticket and membership sold will help support AZA's SAFE Giraffe initiative.

Program Support

Zoo New England has supported a number of organizations dedicated to giraffe conservation in addition to the Reticulated Giraffe Project, including the White Oak Conservation Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Global, and the Sahara Conservation Fund. The Zoo also hosts yearly events on World Giraffe Day to raise funds and awareness for the species.

Visit Franklin Park Zoo's Animals section to learn more about giraffes.