Hanger Clinic and San Diego Wildlife Alliance Collaboration Saves Young Giraffe’s Life

San Diego Zoo Giraffe
May 23, 2022
Hanger Clinic

Earlier this year, a San Diego-area Hanger Clinic team of orthotic experts gave a two-month-old giraffe a new lease on life after fitting her with custom braces.

Msituni (which means “in the forest” in Swahili), the youngest giraffe at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, was born with abnormalities that caused her legs to bend incorrectly, resulting in limited mobility and pain. Safari park staff feared she could die if they didn’t correct the condition, which could prevent her from nursing and walking around the habitat. So they reached out to orthotists at Hanger Clinic.

Hanger Clinic consulted with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance to design a customized treatment plan for Msituni. After several initial fittings, a team including Tim Garcia, Alexander Hetherington, Cory Johnson, Ara Mirzaian, and Stephen Tregoning worked with manufacturing partner Townsend to create custom-molded carbon graphite orthotic braces – complete with a giraffe pattern to provide a natural look – and successfully fit the giraffe with the devices. Thanks to the team’s swift action, Msituni’s legs were correctly positioned after just three weeks, and she was successfully reintroduced to her herd at the Safari Park in Escondido, California. 

Msituni’s story garnered worldwide attention and was featured in NBC Nightly News, Nightly News Kids Edition, Associated Press and more.

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