ALFS story and answers to many questions we have received.
The following post will be pinned to the top to make finding out about ALF much easier. Keepers will also have access to do daily updates to this post.
On June 24th ALF was born. His father is Melmac and his Mother is Valerie. This will be their 3rd baby born here at Brights Zoo. The first baby they had was born with an infection. Had we pulled that first baby to hand raise we believe we could have saved his life. We listened to the advice of many people and left him with his mother. The 2nd baby was a female and her name is Shenna. When Shenna was born we watched closely on closed circuit cameras and after 12 long hours made the decision to ignore the advice of others and hand raise Shenna. Shenna did great on the bottle and is now with our giraffe herd and sleeps with her mother every night.
June 24th, 2017 ALF was born and again we watched closely. As we went out to work with ALF we noticed he had no suckle reflex at all. This would mean even if Valerie wanted him to nurse he could not. Late that night Mountain Empire large vets office was called in to do a tube feeding of colostrum. For the first 6 days ALF would not nurse and had to be tube fed 2 times per day. Finally on the 6th day he took his first bottle from keeper Maggie. By this time his mothers milk had dried up.
Our staff had made the decision that the best shot for ALF to get healthy and strong was to keep him quarantined from the giraffe herd. This way no other germs could get to him. He could not be accidentally stepped on by another giraffe. Keepers would easily be able to go in with him without the worry of the other giraffes. All of his focus could be on his caregivers and all of ours could be on him.
For many days ALF would only take a bottle from keeper Maggie. Maggie worked with Keeper Kari and Connie Bright on ALF taking a bottle from them. He finally started taking a bottle from Kari but only if Maggie was in the room and he could touch Maggie on the chin first.
On the morning of July 17th ALF took his first bottle without Maggie in the room with him. This bottle was early in the morning from Connie. Of course all of us here were beyond happy. He would not take his afternoon bottles without Maggie in the room so we still have a long way to go.
When will ALF go with the other giraffe? This is a tough question. Walking out among adult giraffe is not always a safe place to be (for keepers) so being able to get him his bottle could be more difficult. The other issue is when ALF is full grown he will not be able to be housed with our male giraffe. This means he would need to go to another zoo. Many have asked when that will happen. Again a hard question to really answer. We want to make sure that he will take a bottle from multiple people. As for stress levels it's best to move before he is a year old.
Will his mom recognize him when he goes out with the herd? The answer is yes.
We will do as many posts about ALF as we can. For right now ALF is doing very good. His weight gains have been really good and all of his blood work has also been very good. He has lots of energy. He is drinking his bottles very well also.
From all of us here at Brights Zoo we thank everyone for following his journey.
Alf and Maggie at Brights Zoo
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