Feeding behavior of a herd of Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) at the San Deigo Zoo


Schlegel ML, Fritz G. 2011. Feeding behavior of a herd of masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) at the San Deigo Zoo. In Ward A, Coslik A, Maslanka M, Eds. Proceedings of the Ninth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Kansas City, MO.


The objective of this study was to determine the feeding behavior of a herd of 2.5 Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) (Table 1) and compare this to feeding behavior in other zoo and free-ranging giraffe. In May 2020, 16 h of observations (0500 through 2100) were divided into four time periods (early morning, late morning, early afternoon, evening) and the hours within the time periods were randomly assigned to one of four days of observation. Therefore, on each day, one observation was made in each time period. Instantaneous scan sampling was done every 5 min on each animal. The observer recorded the posture of each animal (standing, lying, bending, walking, and running) and its activity (sleeping, ruminating, eating, drinking, courting, nothing, and other miscellaneous activities). All observations were made from areas accessible to Zoo’s guests. The Masai giraffe herd were housed in a 929 m2 exhibit that included two yards and a barn. The giraffe were fed a diet (as-fed) consisting of 1.1% green beans, 1.3 % mixed leafy greens, 44.9% pellets (Mazuri® Wild Herbivore Diet Hi- Fiber) and 52.3% alfalfa hay supplemented with six 1.8-m pieces of Acacia spp. browse.

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