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Eye of Dubai
Environment & Energy | Sunday 8 February, 2015 2:22 pm |

Al Ain Zoo’s expert Veterinary team rescues distressed Giraffe

Al Ain Zoo’s Veterinary team recently came to the rescue of a distraught female giraffe that was suffering from a problematic labour with a stillborn calf.

Al Ain Zoo’s team of veterinarians answered the call from Emirates Park Zoo, after the stillborn calf became trapped in the mother’s birth canal during labour. The mother giraffe remained in labour for a few hours while a team of four observed and assessed the situation.

Once it became clear that the mother was facing difficulty delivering the calf naturally, which was putting her health at risk, the team decided to immobilise her and use the traction method to extract the stillborn calf.
Commenting on the rescue, Muna Al Dhaheri, the Chief of Conservation and Education at Al Ain Zoo said:
"Al Ain Zoo has established an integrated clinical service for wildlife conservation in which a team of specialists provide first-rate care and expert medical management for an animal’s medical case in zoos anywhere in the region, with the full support of our state-of-the-art veterinary laboratory. We are proud to have been able to extend our Veterinary Consultancy Services to the distressed Giraffe, which is a strategic component to our position as a leading organisation is wildlife conservation and protection.”

Dr. Arshad Toosy, Veterinary Services Manager at Al Ain Zoo said:

“Giraffes are one of the most difficult species to immobilise due to their unique anatomy and physiology. Despite the development of newer and safer drugs as well as improved monitoring equipment, their anaesthesia still remains a major challenge. They are considered a high-risk species to chemically capture and accidental deaths can occur during the immobilisation. However, due to our experienced team who carefully pre-planned, immobilised and monitored the giraffe during the entire procedure, we managed to successfully save the giraffe from a potentially life-threatening situation.”
Al Ain Zoo’s veterinary team provides the highest level of dedicated expert medical management, health, nutrition and welfare with various diagnostic equipment including X-ray and Ultrasound. The team is responsible for keeping the animals’ health in check, keeping them disease-free through practical clinical investigation, medical and surgical intervention, health screening and laboratory diagnostic analysis, all of which are necessary to obtain optimal health and breeding results.

The team currently consists of 21 specialists, with five full-time practicing veterinarians supported by one nurse and five technicians. The veterinarians design, implement and supervise the veterinary care and biosecurity programme, while technicians are responsible for assisting the veterinarians in their clinical activities and maintaining all animal records.

Diagnostic support is also provided by the new state-of-the-art Veterinary Diagnostic and Research Unit, and its services extend across the UAE. The unit is headed by a full-time veterinary pathologist, two lab technicians and one lab supervisor.

A structured plan is also in place for active case management, where animals within the hospital are carefully looked after by a veterinarian and a hospital keeper. Additionally, animal data is updated on a daily basis by all veterinarians to ensure the efficient management of all cases and related issues.

Al Ain Zoo, home to internationally important conservation programmes, is an active member of the World Association for Zoo and Aquaria (WAZA) and is involved in several internationally coordinated conservation projects, working with other like-minded organisations such as Durrell Wildlife, Jersey; Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi; the Species Survival Commission; San Diego Zoo; the Northern Rangelands Trust of Kenya; and the Sahara Conservation Fund.
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