Baby giraffe born with backward legs given ability to walk

Msituni’s recovery within just 39 days has meant she can rejoin her herd

Fiona Jackson
Friday 20 May 2022 15:06
Comments
Baby giraffe born with legs bending the wrong way walks properly with help of brace

A baby giraffe born with its legs bent the wrong way has walked properly for the first time with the help of a braceem for 39 days.

Msituni was born at San Diego Zoo Safari Park with hyperextension of the carpi bones that caused its limbs to bend improperly and made it difficult to walk or stand.

Carpi bones in a giraffe act like wrist joint bones in their front limbs.

Zoo workers said it was unlikely the giraffe would have survived without the treatments provided by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and Hanger Clinic.

Matt Kinney, a senior veterinarian at the California park, said: “Without these lifesaving braces to provide support, the position of her legs would have become increasingly more painful and progressed to a point she would not have been able to overcome.

“We are so glad to have the resources and expertise to step in and provide this young calf with the opportunity for a full life.

“The birth of every animal is a cherished event, and Msituni’s survival in the face of so much adversity makes it all the more remarkable.”

Hanger Clinic usually provides orthotic and prosthetic care to human patients but made an exception for the young giraffe.

Clinic staff took cast mouldings of the 5ft 10in calf’s legs and used them to create graphite orthotic braces that would fit perfectly and stabilise its limbs. They also covered them with a giraffe pattern.

Hanger Clinic orthotist Ara Mirzaian said: “I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I’ve never worked with wildlife before – it’s one of those things that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you just have to savour the moment.”

Msituni on 1 February with blood abnormalities and all four legs in irregular positions. The giraffe was treated with intravenous antibiotics and given hoof extenders to fix the position of her hind legs.

However, its unstable front legs took their toll on due to her 5kg birth weight and Msituni was rejected by its mother.

Msituni only needed one custom brace for its front leg, as the other leg corrected itself with a medical-grade brace. After 39 days, all the walking aids were removed. Msituni has since grown to a health weight and been introduced to the rest of the giraffe herd in the east African savanna habitat.

It has been adopted by an adult female, named Yamikani, whose female calf, Nuru, was born four days after Msituni.

Kristi Burtis, director of wildlife care at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said: “This was an important step in Msituni’s natural development,

“As her bond grows with the herd, she will be able to learn behaviours and skills important to the development of a young giraffe.”

SWNS

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in