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Follow-up procedure planned for Abu

The Animal Care and Veterinary Teams at Zoo Atlanta will soon undertake a follow-up veterinary procedure for Abu the giraffe.

Abu, who at almost 16 is the oldest member of the Zoo’s giraffe herd and is considered geriatric, experiences arthritis. In May 2021, Zoo Atlanta announced that Abu had undergone a significant procedure in which he was fitted with two special therapeutic shoes to help stabilize his front feet and slow down the progression of the arthritis. At that time, he received stem cell therapy, which is an innovative tool that has proven helpful in treating osteoarthritis in a variety of species.

The therapeutic shoes, which have also been used with horses and cows, are not meant to be worn for long periods, so are intended to be removed or replaced on a relatively regular basis. With the help of Zoo Hoofstock Trim Program (ZHTP), an external professional team specializing in the hoof care of giraffes, the teams will be removing the shoes and will again be administering stem cell therapy using stem cells collected from Abu’s own blood. Because general anesthesia is required for this procedure, there is always a risk for complications. Given their unusual anatomy and physiology, this is especially the case when working with giraffes. These treatments are necessary steps, however, in working to aid in Abu’s well-being and comfort, which is always the Zoo Atlanta team’s foremost priority.

Updates will be provided as soon as Abu’s condition is known.


Rachel Davis, Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office
404.309.2238 – cell

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the all-new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the new Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit

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