Giraffe Herd Update

Sota, Reid Park Zoo’s 3-year-old giraffe, has been spending lots of his time off-habitat recently as he recovers from an injury and infection in one of his legs.

The injury appeared minor at first, but needed more attention as the ankle joint became tender and swollen. In late February, Reid Park Zoo’s team successfully conducted a procedure to provide medicine, culture the infection, and learn more about the swelling in his leg. 

Sota has been receiving daily medical treatment and physical therapy since sustaining the injury. Further medical intervention is necessary to aid Sota on the road to recovery. This month, experts from out of state will come to Reid Park Zoo to help our veterinary team with a procedure. Together the veterinarians will look into his joint and see if there is damage to tendons or ligaments. From there, the team will determine how we can best assist the healing of the joint. 

Anesthetizing giraffes is always a delicate procedure, as their long necks and lanky legs add challenges to the process. Our team will make Sota as comfortable as possible during the procedure with special padding for him to rest his giant body on as the veterinarians treat his leg.

It’s not certain how Sota sustained the injury in the first place: initially it appeared as a minor discomfort without any visible physical symptoms. Our animal care and veterinary teams immediately began monitoring Sota’s leg. Because of the team’s careful work with him, Sota is a pro at presenting his foot for X-rays. The X-ray images we’ve gotten since have helped inform the vets about the best treatment. 

We will continue to provide updates on Sota’s condition.