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Maryland Zoo helps its older animals age gracefully

Maryland, (Qnnflash) – Similar to humans, animals also experience the effects of aging, but a comprehensive wellness program at the Maryland Zoo is actively contributing to the extended and healthier lives of its animal inhabitants.

Margaret Rose-Innes, the general curator at the Maryland Zoo, explained, “We have several animals that qualify as senior citizens. Our African elephant, Anna, is 48; Joice the chimpanzee is 51, and Caesar, our male reticulated giraffe, is 16.” These ages are near or exceed the median life expectancy for their respective species, which are approximately 39.4 years for a female African elephant, 40.2 years for a female chimpanzee, and 15.1 years for male giraffes.

Dr. Ellen Bronson, the senior director of Animal Health, Conservation, and Research, highlighted the zoo’s meticulous approach to addressing the specific needs of aging animals. The zookeepers vigilantly monitor each animal’s behavior and are attuned to subtle changes, such as alterations in movement or shifts in food intake and waste output. Persistent changes prompt conversations among departmental managers, species curators, and veterinary staff to determine the cause, leading to the development of tailored care plans.

For instance, Joice the chimpanzee was diagnosed with age-related hip arthritis during a routine physical. In response, the zoo staff devised a daily physical therapy routine that has visibly improved her range of motion and overall well-being. This approach has reduced the need for constant medication.

Caesar the giraffe and Anna the elephant face challenges due to their considerable size, making them susceptible to joint and hoof issues as they age. The zoo employs strength and mobility-enhancing exercises, anti-inflammation medications, and specialized flooring materials to alleviate joint stress. Overnight monitoring via remote cameras provides valuable insights into their sleep patterns, enabling adjustments to their daily activities.

The zoo utilizes familiar diagnostic tools, such as X-rays, ultrasounds, and echocardiograms, to assess the animals’ health. Advanced diagnostics, such as CT scans and MRI scans, are conducted in partnership with local medical facilities. Training helps prepare the animals for these procedures, reducing stress and discomfort.

Kirby Fowler, the zoo’s President and CEO, emphasized the holistic care approach applied as animals age, encompassing medical, physical, and emotional well-being. Zoos have demonstrated success in extending the lifespans of animals beyond their counterparts in the wild. This accumulated experience contributes to ongoing improvements in care standards for generations to come.

For More Information :

https://www.dundalkeagle.com/maryland-zoo-helps-its-older-animals-age-gracefully/article_fb68e61e-3bd4-11ee-b666-5b2e2eaec273.html

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