(WJBF) – Today on Wild Encounters we take a behind the scenes look at their hoof care process.
“Allison is here today with our friend, Bruce. Allison, tell us a little bit about the process that you guys are about to be doing here with Bruce here in a second.”
Alyson Proveaux / Hoof Stock Supervisor: “Alright, so one of the most important things that we’ve started working on with our giraffe recently has been training them for hoof care. So, hoof care is really important for all animals that have hooves. So, giraffe are included in that. What you’ll actually see is a training session with Bruce where he presents one of his front feet onto a block for us and you’ll see me cleaning up the hoof and trying a couple of different things just to desensitize him to some different things that he’s going to feel, because Bruce actually has kind of a big, exciting moment for us: his first appointment with our local farrier to actually come and voluntarily trim up his feet. So, Bruce recently learned to let us do all that foot care for him so we can have someone come out and actually help us clean up his hooves and make sure he has really healthy feet.”
“What’s the importance of doing this foot care?”
Allison: “Just think about when your feet hurt or your feet are uncomfortable or your shoes don’t fit right or you have different things like that; you have a rock in your shoe that you’re trying to step on. Hoof care is super important because look at how much weight they put on their legs. They’re big animals, so those feet need to be healthy in order to give them a really good quality of life and a really long life, too.”
“About how long does it take for you guys to be able to develop this bond with them? I can’t even get my dog to go outside when I want it to.”
Allison: “Bruce is one of our most tactile ones. I really credit that to one of our keepers, Mariah, who has put a lot of work into working with him to build a relationship. So, through all of that work, he learned that if he was pretty tolerant and if he let us do things, he would get lettuce. As you can see, he hates lettuce, guys. He hates it so much. So, through all that process, he’s very quick to trust us and to actually trust the different things, like putting the foot on the block. There are some other giraffe that we have who are also learning this process and it’s taking them a lot longer, but it’s because they have to learn to trust us and to be able to be okay with what we’re doing.”