Friday 2 December 2016

Giraffe sprightly after pedicure

Published 21/10/2011 | 09:02

A 17-year-old giraffe named Sophie had her overgrown hooves trimmed to stop her developing ankle problems
A 17-year-old giraffe named Sophie had her overgrown hooves trimmed to stop her developing ankle problems

When Sophie the giraffe arrived at her new home with overgrown hooves, she was in desperate need of a pedicure.

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The 17-year-old giraffe was transferred from Dudley Zoo in the West Midlands to Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, near Stirling, last year. Staff at the park decided to have her hooves trimmed to prevent her from developing ankle problems in the future.

Sophie, who was born at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire, was sedated on Tuesday, and a team of vets and nurses worked for around an hour and a half to clip her hooves. They used giant metal clippers and a big file to shape the hooves afterwards.

Gary Gilmour, park manager, said Sophie is recovering well and has had a "spring in her step" since the pedicure.

He said: "When she came here from Dudley we noticed straight away that Sophie's hooves were overgrown. We waited to see if they would wear down naturally, but we eventually decided that we'd have to do something about it. If her hooves had stayed the way they were it would have caused her to start stepping back, causing problems with the ankles.

"It's not something we do every week, so it was quite an operation involving three vets, two vet nurses and some staff members from the park, overseen by head vet Colin Scott.

"Although the clippers look very big, they work the same way as a set of nail clippers work on a human and it doesn't hurt the animal.

"When we brought her round she was up on her feet in no time and has been doing really well. She really is a great giraffe and we're pleased to see she's got a spring back in her step."

There are four giraffes living at Blair Drummond, cared for by the park's head giraffe keeper Chris Lucas. The park's other animals include rhinos, zebras, elephants and chimps.

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