CINCINNATI (November 12, 2019) – Twelve-year-old giraffe Kimba got a giraffe-sized pedicure earlier today from world-renowned farrier Steve Foxworth. Foxworth, an expert in hoof care for large and small ungulates, gave Kimba a thorough hoof trim to address mobility issues that he’s been experiencing for months.
“Kimba began intermittent bouts of lameness last summer, which we’ve been managing with laser therapy and medications that mitigate symptoms,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s curator of mammals Christina Gorsuch. ‘Giraffes balance a lot of weight on their extra-long legs, so we want to do everything possible to maintain foot health.”
That’s why the Zoo brought Foxworth, a Certified Lameness Specialist (CLS) who has had great success turning around lame horses and exotic animals and making them sound, to Cincinnati. While he is immobilized, Kimba was also x-rayed and photographed with a thermographic camera.
“The x-rays and thermographic images will help us rule out other causes of Kimba’s lameness,” said Gorsuch. “The vets will take a good look at his legs, shoulders and neck to see if there’s anything unusual going on that could be the source of his discomfort. If not, the hoof trim should do the trick.”
Our adult female giraffe, Tessa and Cece are trained for voluntarily hoof trims. We are hopeful that having all four hooves trimmed at once will make Kimba much more comfortable so that he can participate in hoof trim training like the girls.
Kimba has sired six offspring and is expecting #7 any day! He came to Cincinnati in 2008 from the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). One of his calves, three-year-old Cora, lives there now.
In 2018, giraffes were listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Giraffe populations are suffering from habitat loss, trophy hunting, illegal poaching and war-stricken habitat. The Cincinnati Zoo supports wild Maasai giraffe conservation by offering “behind the scenes” tours with proceeds going to the Wild Nature Institute. Visit cincinnatizoo.org to schedule a tour.