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Significant veterinary procedure for giraffe Abu

The Animal Care and Veterinary Teams at Zoo Atlanta will soon undertake a significant veterinary procedure for the well-being of the oldest member of the Zoo’s giraffe population: 15-year-old Abu.

Abu, who is within the geriatric frame of the typical giraffe lifespan, experiences arthritis in his front left foot. In May 2020, Zoo Atlanta announced that Abu had undergone a major procedure aimed at mitigating the effects of his arthritis, and he experienced positive effects following that treatment. Although the Animal Care and Veterinary Teams have been treating his arthritis with anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications and laser therapy, his condition now requires even more extensive treatment. To this end, a special therapeutic shoe will be placed on the affected foot to help stabilize the foot and hopefully slow down the progression of the arthritis. Additionally, he will be receiving stem cell therapy, which is an innovative therapeutic tool to help combat arthritis. General anesthesia is required for the procedure – an approach which carries a high risk for complications, especially for giraffes. While the teams are aware of the risks associated with this procedure, Abu’s well-being and comfort is the number one priority, which makes this step a necessity.

For the procedure, Zoo Atlanta is engaging the partnership of an external professional team specializing in the hoof care of giraffes. 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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