Milk Composition of the Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) through Lactation

Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are the most common subspecies of giraffe maintained in zoological institutions. The gestation length for a reticulated giraffe is about 455 days (15 months). Lactation in wild giraffes has been estimated to last 12-13 months. The milk samples used in this study were part of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park’s Milk Repository and had been stored at -20°C since collection. For this study 15 reticulated giraffe milk samples from three individuals were analyzed. Two of the individuals had only one milk sample analyzed, while the other 13 milk samples came from the same individual over a single lactation. Milk samples were analyzed from day 11 post-partum through day 268 postpartum. Samples were assayed for dry matter (DM), fat, sugar, crude protein (CP), and ash, using standard methods that have been validated at the Nutrition Laboratory of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and performed on milks from about 200 species of mammals. Gross energy was calculated using the formula: 9.11 * fat + 3.95 * sugar + 5.86 * CP.4

Last Updated
April 10, 2021