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Update on veterinary procedure for Abu

The Animal Care and Veterinary Teams at Zoo Atlanta are pleased to share that a planned major veterinary procedure for Abu the giraffe went well, and Abu’s recovery from the procedure continues as hoped. The teams continue to monitor Abu, who at almost 16 is the oldest member of the Zoo’s giraffe herd and is considered geriatric, closely for signs of complications.

Zoo Atlanta announced on August 2 that in partnership with Zoo Hoofstock Trim Program (ZHTP), an external professional team specializing in the hoof care of giraffes, the teams would be removing the two special therapeutic shoes Abu was fitted with in May 2021. The shoes were removed successfully on August 3 with the help of ZHTP and an anesthesiology team from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. The teams also administered stem cell therapy, an innovative tool that has proven helpful in treating osteoarthritis in a variety of species, using stem cells collected from Abu’s own blood.
The procedure required general anesthesia, which is risky for older individuals and is especially so for giraffes, given their unusual anatomy and physiology.

The hope is that the therapeutic shoes, which have also been used in horses and cows and are not intended to be worn for extended periods, helped to stabilize Abu’s joints to better manage discomfort associated with his arthritis. The Zoo Atlanta team plans to continue to manage his condition with analgesic medications, therapeutic laser therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, and regular hoof trimming, which Abu has been trained to participate in voluntarily.

Visit to learn more about Abu and the other two members of his herd, younger males Etana and Isooba.


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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