Formerly the most populous giraffe with an estimated 71,000 individuals three decades ago, less than half (35,000) of them remain in the wild today.
Ongoing reports of poaching suggest that their population continues to decrease.
The IUCN Red List assessment of Masai giraffe is under final review, and considering their overall decline of approximately 50%, it will most likely result in a threatened category listing. Thornicroft’s giraffe were recently added to the IUCN Red List and listed as Vulnerable because even though the population has remained stable for the last three decades, they only occur in low numbers in one geographical area. Further research is required to establish whether Thornicroft’s giraffe are genetically identical to Masai giraffe, or should be considered a subspecies of Masai giraffe.
The Masai giraffe is often noticeably darker than other species. Its patches are large, dark brown and distinctively vine leaf-shaped with jagged edges. The patches are surrounded by a creamy-brown colour, which continues down their lower legs.