Training a Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) for Voluntary Foot Radiographs at Dubai Safari Park

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Demi Booth, Amos Kamau, Henry Kayondo, Anna Mae Sumaya, Muhammad Waseem Ashraf
Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
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When 0.1 Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) began displaying signs of lameness and a persistent swelling of the front left pastern joint, an operant based training program was created for front foot radiographs to diagnose and better manage lameness. Using a protected contact set up, behaviour was shaped using a positive reinforcement procedure. A series of cued behaviors were trained and used to obtain dorsolateral palmar medial oblique front foot radiographs to aid vets in diagnosing the cause of lameness. By training giraffes for foot radiographs, potential causes of lameness could be identified and better managed. Long-term, the results may help zoos identify best practices for managing and preventing lameness in giraffe and subsequently improve welfare. Training animals to participate in their own medical care can improve welfare by giving them a sense of control within the situation. Training for medical procedures helps to reduce the stress imposed on the giraffe and the associated risks compared to alternative methods.


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