Thanks to the efforts of doctors at the San Diego Zoo, three-month-old Msituni, which means “in the forest” in Swahili, is able to walk despite congenital anomalies in her forelimbs.
Dr. Matt Kinney, a senior veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo, installed special orthoses for the baby giraffe.
These orthoses are attached to her front legs and help correct the overstretching of a joint similar to a human wrist.
Due to this defect, Msituni’s limbs were not bent correctly, making it difficult for her to walk or even stand.
According to Dr. Kinney, without these life-saving orthoses, Msituni would have experienced constant pain and may have eventually been unable to stand at all.
The orthoses were created by Hanger Clinic, a local orthopedic clinic for humans, using cast samples of the giraffe’s legs.
To help Msituni adapt and blend in, the orthoses were given a “giraffe” coloring.
Dr. Ara Mirzaian, a certified orthopedist at Hanger Clinic, expressed a great sense of accomplishment in working with wildlife for the first time.
The adaptation process for Msituni has been successful, and she is now with the rest of the giraffe herd in the Savannah of the safari park, which spans 60 acres and replicates the natural environment of East Africa.
Thanks to the orthoses, Msituni is able to live in natural conditions alongside her relatives.
Her bond with the herd is growing, allowing her to learn the behaviors and skills necessary for a young giraffe, according to Kristi Burtis, director of wildlife conservation at the safari park.
Scientists estimate that there are now fewer than 100,000 giraffes in their natural habitat, and their population has declined by over 40% in the past 20 years due to factors such as drought, climate change, and poaching.
The survival of Msituni after overcoming adversity is a remarkable and joyful event for the giraffe species, as stated by Dr. Kinney.