Teaching Giraffes to take Radiographs!

Rebecca Schneyer earned her BS in Animal Science in 2014 and is now employed as a Senior Keeper of Hooves & Horns at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Massachusetts.

Rebecca recently shared photos of her work and this information.

“Animal hooves continuously grow and need to be trimmed. In zoos, it is our responsibility to always challenge ourselves to provide the highest level of care that we can. We are currently working with our giraffes to be able to do radiographs and hoof trims. But, unlike horses and other animals, we cannot simply pick up their feet and trim their hooves. It takes trusting relationships and training.

Currently, we are working with giraffes named Amari and Chad. Amari is a 3 years old female and was born at the Franklin Park Zoo. Chad is 4 year old male. Chad was born at the Santa Barbara Zoo in California and arrived at Franklin Park in November 2017 as a breeding recommendation per the Species Survival Plan. Amari and Chad are being trained to place their hoof on the block, so the zookeepers are able to take radiographs of the giraffes’ lower legs. These radiographs allow the zookeepers to see, without the need for sedation, if there are any pathological changes happening.

Similar to humans, both the giraffes have a favorite “hand.” Amari will quickly place her right hoof on the block, but putting her left hoof on is providing a challenge to zookeepers. Chad will repeatedly place his left hoof on the block, but would prefer to put both hooves on the block before placing only his right hoof on. They are an adorably fun challenge to work with!”

Use this link https://www.zoonewengland.org/protect/inside-our-zoos/animal-care/ to learn more about Zoo New England, the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Massachusetts and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Massachusetts.