May 8, 2009

Baby giraffe joins zoo herd after surgery

Officials at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky said a baby giraffe born in February with a deformity has joined the rest of the herd on display after treatment.

Candy McMahan, assistant mammal curator at the zoo, said Bakari, a Masai giraffe born Feb. 17 at the zoo, is doing great after he was diagnosed shortly after birth with angular limb deformity, the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal reported Friday.

Zoo veterinarians said Bakari received a plasma transfusion with horse antibodies to boost his immune system and Dr. Scott Bennett of Equine Services in Simpsonville, Ky., performed a surgical procedure aimed at boosting bone growth in the giraffe's shorter leg.

We have seen marked improvement, McMahan said. He has wonderful mobility and is now running around the yard at top speed.

She said Bakari has grown to more than 6 feet tall.

He is definitely shooting up, McMahan said. Bakari is a bold and confident giraffe -- a stark contrast to his beginning days. We are thrilled with how he is doing.