Sounds Like a Call for High-Angle Rescue
THE DORTMUNDER (Germany) ZOO HAD AN EMERGENCY Tuesday that required the assistance of the Dortmund Feuerwehr (fire brigade). When the zookeepers reported for work in the morning they found that one of their giraffes, a bull, had fallen over during the night and was laying on the ground. Giraffes are unable to right themselves and if they fall down onto their sides, they are unable to get up and will perish. In the wild, their predators will move in and finish them off, but in captivity their circulatory system is unable to function properly and they will eventually die.
The keepers later estimated that their bull had been down since about 7 pm Monday night, so time was critical and the call was sent to the fire department. The Dortmund Feuerwehr dispatched its high-angle rescue team to help out. The Rurh Nachrichten newspaper was on the scene, but despite not being allowed near the accident scene, they got some long-range photos and filed a timeline from which we quote portions for you:
10:12 AM – The giraffe is under much stress and needs to be calmed down. Too much "hustle and bustle" will be damaging as the circulatory system is already dropping to dangerous level. The rescue team has brought in an air cushion that is used to raise vehicles, etc., off of victims.
10: 41 AM: The situation of the animal is highly problematic. The weight of the giraffe presses on a nerve. The air bags are on hand to ensure that damage to the nerve is lessened. It is a massive stress for the animal. Giraffes are flight animals, not their natural instinct is to lie. The technical rescue is turning out to be more difficult than anticipated.
11: 15 PM: The first attempt to heave the animal with large straps has failed. It is Giraffe "Tamu". Danger to life exists as before.
11: 19 AM: The other six giraffes of Angola are now in the external enclosure, the recovery must take place indoors. Now, the head of the animal with the help of a wooden construction platform is being elevated. This is urgently needed so that the circulation is maintained. The male Giraffe is five years old.
12: 00 PM: When first used, webbing slings over the body were laid. It was attempted by pulling up to relieve the weight. The male giraffe was, however, already too weak for this application. At the moment the priority is that the head is kept higher than the body. There is massive danger to life.
12: 29 PM: Still, it is very critical. The head is high now with the help of a wooden structure. It was upholstered with straw. "As a result, we have gained a little time", said fire spokesman Boris Thiemrodt. So far, the air bag was not used. The giraffe must, should he be lifted, be able to stand independently.
12: 56 PM: "Tamu" has not survived. The giraffe is dead since 12: 50 pm.
1: 54 PM: Apparently the assistants had it still managed to erect the giraffe, but he could however not remain alone. His strength was no longer sufficient after all the hardships. Now, he is being examined. Heart Circulatory failure is referred to as cause of death.
The zoo's giraffe collection now consists of five cows and one bull.
Thanks to Christian Lewalter – Feuerwehr Weblog.
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