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Zoo refrains from putting out giraffes, prefers castration

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Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, April 11 (CTK) – The Usti zoo has had castrated the first of its two redundant male Rothschild giraffes that would have had to be put out otherwise, its spokeswoman Vera Vrabcova has told CTK, adding that the surgery was demanding and also risky for the animal.

After growing up, giraffe males cannot remain with their mother herd. However, other zoos from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), of which the Usti zoo is a member, have no capacities to accept a foreign male.

The lack of space for swelling giraffe herds is a problem of all European zoos.

The Usti zoo discussed the fate of its two adolescent males for many months.

“As a member of the EAZA, our zoo is bound to observe the recommendation of experts, which is either euthanasia or other means to prevent further reproduction of the given animal. We sought a more positive solution, also because the [breeding] coordinator promised us to have a castrated male placed in a facility outside the EAZA,” zoo director Roman Koncel said.

The other male can remain in Usti, posing no danger of further reproduction.

Zoologist Lukas Sterba said giraffe castration is a very complex surgery threatening to kill the animal, but still the zoo preferred it to putting the two males out.

The 1.5-hour surgery was performed by experts from the zoos in Usti and Prague and from the Brno-seated Veterinary and Pharmaceutical University a week ago.

“The anaesthesia of a giraffe requires cooperation and coordination of many assistants, since in its course it is necessary to keep the animal’s neck and head upright, for the sake of blood circulation, to pay special attention to all reactions of the animal and meet all requests of the veterinaries,” Vrabcova said.

After the surgery was over, the male was woken up. Assisted by the attendants, he immediately stood up and started walking around. He has already reunited his herd in the giraffe enclosure.

The other male will undergo castration in the weeks to come.

Last year, the Usti zoo was forced to have a giraffe male put out, because he grew aggressive and there was no place for him outside the Usti zoo.

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