Reticulated Giraffe at Diergaarde Blijdorp, Rotterdam (Holland)
The Reticulated Giraffe (also known as the Somali Giraffe) is a subspecies of giraffe native to Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Reticulated giraffes can interbreed with other giraffe subspecies in captivity or if they come into contact with populations of other subspecies in the wild. The Reticulated Giraffe is among the most well-known of the nine giraffe subspecies. Together with the Rothschild Giraffe, it is by far the giraffe most commonly seen in Zoos. Its coat consists of large, polygonal, liver-coloured spots outlined by a network of bright-white lines. The blocks may sometimes appear deep red and may also cover the legs. The extraordinary height of giraffes is attributed to a ritual known as "necking", where two males fight for reproduction rights by slamming their necks into one another. The giraffes with the tallest and strongest necks are victorious and allowed to reproduce, thus passing these genes on to future generations. The Reticulated Giraffes in Blijdorp are part of the European breeding program. With ten giraffes Rotterdam Zoo has one of the largest herds Reticulated Giraffes in Europe. Blijdorp has Reticulated Giraffes since the fifties.
Diergaarde Blijdorp, officially Rotterdam Zoo, is a zoo located in the northwestern part of Rotterdam. It is one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands, and has been operated by the Stichting Koninklijke Rotterdamse Diergaarde ("Royal Rotterdam Zoo Foundation"). Divided into several zoogeographic regions, the 26-hectare (64.25-acre) Blijdorp Zoo is home to more than 180 species. It also has a shop, multiple cafes, and an information centre. The zoo is a member of the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). In 2007, it celebrated its 150th anniversary.