11-ft.-tall animal takes ibuprofen for a misalignment, but zookeeper says she’s “doing quite well”

By People Staff
Updated December 06, 2009 11:07 PM

The sight is shocking: An 11-ft.-tall giraffe with a neck that looks as though it’s been bent in the middle. But not to worry, despite the very unusual crick in her neck, Amali, a 5-year-old female at the Tulsa Zoo, is doing well.

“It looks more dramatic than it is,” Angela Evans, the zoo’s community relations manager, tells PEOPLEPets.com. “She’s a young lady in the way giraffes are – she’s adorable and doing quite well.”

Amali sustained the misalignment injury while traveling from The Wilds park in Ohio to Oklahoma, where she was meant to cozy up to the Tulsa Zoo’s male giraffe. There are no explanations as to how the injury happened, but she is behaving normally, acclimating to her new surroundings. Though she occasionally shows discomfort and gives her neck a long stretch, the giraffe does not appear to be in any pain.

Zoo staff have been providing Amali with ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory drugs and mild muscle relaxants. They are waiting to take x-rays of her neck but, as Evans says, “How do you take X-rays of an 11-foot animal?” The zoo has consulted with equine experts to figure out the logistics of treating Amali, though there is the chance that it isn’t fixable.

Eventually, once the zoo has a better understanding of what Amali is dealing with, they will put together an exhibit.

“It’ll be shocking, but it gives us a platform for educating about a giraffe’s physiology,” Evans says. “She’s just an amazing animal, so curious and such a puppy-like quality. She’s getting around fine. These are positive signs for us. She’s going to help us help her.”