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SSP/TAG: Giraffe                                                            DATE: Feb 24, 2004



Ray L Ball, DVM               e-mail:

Address: 3605 Bougainvillea Drive, Tampa, FL., 33674

Phone: (day) 813-987-5562     (evening) 813-310-3792 (FAX) 813-987-5548


Dr. Kirk Suedmeyer, Director of Animal Health, The Kansas City Zoo, 6700 Zoo Drive

Kansas City, MO 64132, (816) 513-4669,



MORBIDITY (Significant illnesses/issues facing this species this year):

MORTALITY (Causes of death in this year):

Cause of Death:

            Pending report from Studbook keeper. Morbidity and Mortality events are not currently reported to the veterinary advisors yet.  One of the projects below is an attempt to standardize necropsies and to review mortality events for the past several years.


BIRTHS:  Males:      Females:      

Number of pairs recommended for breeding:      

Number of pairs bred:      

Number of births:      

            MALES:  mother-reared:                                    hand-reared:

            FEMALES: mother-reared:                                    hand-reared:



ANESTHESTIC PROTCOLS (Please list successful and unsuccessful protocols): Extensive review and case studies provided in the Husbandry Manual.


VACCINE RECOMMENDATIONS (Vaccine reactions, new vaccines to be considered):   Giraffe are susceptible to Clostridium tetani.4 Vaccination with tetanus toxoid should be performed every other year or opportunistically.  Other vaccination for infectious disease (Leptospirosis sp., rabies, etc.) is left to the discretion of the institutions and perceived risks. There are no reported infections with New World West Nile virus in giraffe and vaccination is not recommended at this time.(See attached Preventative Medicine Recommenadtions).


CONTRACEPTION (Methods used, successes, failures):



·        Giraffe Health assessment – epidemiology of disease and controlling mortality.

o     Ray L. Ball, Judy, St. Leger, Celeste Kearney, Pam Dennis

·        Complete blood counts, serum biochemistries, and nutritional analysis of captured giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) from the Kruger National Park, RSA.

o     Ray L. Ball, Peter Buss, Markus Hofmeyer, Mary Beth Williams.

·        Evaluate how specific changes in dietary carbohydrates and physical form (to make the feed functionally more similar to native browse) affect giraffe health, energy status, and behavior

o     Celeste Kearney, Ray L. Ball, Mary Beth Hall


NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS: Broad recommendations include the use of as much browse as possible.  Several theories and projects are underway to investigate the numerous health issues in giraffe and browsers in general.  These include  essential fatty acids, protein levels , and the importance of physically effective fiber and the potential deleterious effects of starchesThe Husbandry Manual has a suggested diet and consequent nutrient profile that has maintained giraffe in captivity (Table 2, p. 117).  It is important to remember that this diet is proposed but that numerous health issues in captive giraffe are believed to have their roots in nutrition.




NEW SSP/TAG PROTOCOLS: Recommended Preventative Medicine Guidelines for Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis sp.) , Quarantine Recommendations for Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis sp), Giraffe Necropsy Protocol.



·        Subspecific Assessment of the North American Captive Giraffe Report Compared to the Extant Giraffe Population across Africa, Rick Brenneman.  Report presented at SSP meeting Feb 2004.


NEW REFERENCES FOR THE BIBLIOGRAPHY/WEBSITE:  Comprehensive Medical references provided in the new Giraffe Husbandry Manual, 2004. (Click for Giraffe Reference Bibliography)



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