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Tulsa Zoo's Newest Residents Settle In

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"Amali" remains in quarantine at the Tulsa Zoo due to a neck injury [photo: Tulsa Zoo] "Amali" remains in quarantine at the Tulsa Zoo due to a neck injury [photo: Tulsa Zoo]

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TULSA, OK -- Two female giraffes at the Tulsa Zoo are settling into their new home in the zoo's African Savannah. 

In a news release, the Tulsa Zoo says one of the female giraffes, a 5-year-old from The Wilds in Ohio, whose name is now Amali, will remain in quarantine due to a neck injury. 

Amali was not impaired and loaded normally for departure to the Tulsa Zoo. 

Upon her arrival, a misalignment, or "crick", was noted in the middle of her neck, and it is thought that she injured herself during transit. 

She has been undergoing treatment by Tulsa Zoo's Staff Veterinarian, Dr. Kay Backues, since her arrival on October 18th

"When Amali the giraffe walked off the trailer into her new home she could walk, eat and maneuver normally," says Dr. Backues. 

In the news release, the Tulsa Zoo says a giraffe's neck is designed with strong ligaments and elongated bones that give it the ability to browse higher on trees in the wild than other animals.  But the unique support system of the head and neck that gives them this advantage is a delicate alignment that is susceptible to injury by muscle fatigue, or ligament and tendon trauma.  

"Amali was initially treated for muscle fatigue and possible soft tissue trauma. We are using medications a human might use if they strained their neck or back, such as non-steroidal ant-inflammatory similar to ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, pain relievers (analgesics) and a vitamin supplement," said Dr. Backues. "These treatments have appeared to make her more comfortable, but further diagnostics are being planned to determine the extent of the injury."

Amali, whose name translates to "hope" in Swahili, will remain in quarantine and under veterinary care as the Tulsa Zoo develops options for her treatment. 

The first female giraffe to reach Tulsa was the 9-year-old female from the Santa Barbara Zoo, who arrived October 8th. 

After a standard quarantine period, she has had a chance to meet the zoo's male giraffe Samburu, or "Sam."

In addition to a new home, she also has a new name, thanks to a naming contest held by the Tulsa Zoo. 

Votes were cast by the public and she will now go by "Amira," which means "princess" in Swahili. 

The Tulsa Zoo says Amira will now be on exhibit for the public to meet as weather allows.

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