Masai or Kilimanjaro giraffe

Description
Gerald the giraffe is one of RAMM's most iconic specimens and would have been an outstanding animal when alive. This adult male giraffe has been an extremely popular exhibit at the Museum since 1920. In 1901 he encountered big game hunter Charles Victor Alexander Peel at Moshi, Tanzania, close to the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro in what were German Territories. This encounter was to elevate him to iconic status far from his birthplace.

Of giraffes Peel notes that 'Their skins are immensely thick and heavy, and in consequence they are very difficult to dry, cure and carry'. He found that they could be closely approached in thick bush as they were 'continually looking over and beyond one'.

Gerald was skinned, dried and cured on site. Judging from how sections of the skin have been sewn together he was cut into manageable portions for the porters to carry. There was a newly built railway from Mombassa which terminated at Moshi. This was a German built line conceived as a rival to the British railway from Mombassa to Lake Victoria. From Mombassa the skin was shipped as freight to London where it was mounted by the famous taxidermy firm, Rowland Ward Ltd.

Gerald was previously known as George, as an affectionate tribute to King George V. However, he was renamed Gerald by a former museum director who was not so fond of the Royal Family. Gerald is one of the few specimens that remained at RAMM during the redevelopment, spending many months in a crate, before being moved out of the window on Upper Paul Street and then being craned into the museum through the roof from Northernhay Gardens.

In 2013 we measured him using a laser - hooves to horns (known as ossicones) he is 5.05m and hooves to the top of his head he is 4.94m tall. Gerald was previously identified as Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi but a DNA study published in September 2016 has established that giraffes now belong to four distinct species rather than one with many subspecies. Gerald’s new scientific name is Giraffa tippelskirchi.
Accession Loan No.
99/1919/100
Collection Class
Mammals
Common Name
Masai or Kilimanjaro giraffe
Simple Name
mammal: mount
Full Name
GIRAFFIDAE: Giraffa tippelskirchi Matschie: Masai or Kilimanjaro giraffe
Dimensions
height 4.94 m; height 5.05 m
Family Group

Collector / Excavator
Peel, C V A
Collection Town
Moshi
Collection Country
Tanzania
Collection Area Region
East Africa
Collection Continent
Africa
Phylum
CHORDATA: VERTEBRATA
Family
GIRAFFIDAE
Genus
Giraffa
Species
tippelskirchi

    There are 3 comments

    • Karen
      26 September 2017 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

      I can remember when I was twelve visiting this museum with my mum while on holiday. It has stuck in my mind for all these years. I’m now 55. Would luv to visit again. Hopefully soon awonderful thing the internet is . To be able to see childhood memories.

    • morrigan
      26 August 2020 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

      hi
      i came to the museum for my birthday in March. I really enjoyed seeing the stuffed animals I liked Gerald the most but the polar bear was a bit scary. I want to visit again. I live in Cornwall.
      Love from Morrigan (age 6)

      • Holly Morgenroth
        27 August 2020 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

        Dear Morrigan,

        I’m so pleased you enjoyed your visit. Gerald was my favourite as a child too. We would love for you to visit again when we reopen – keep an eye on our website, we will announce a reopening date as soon as we can. Best wishes
        Holly

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