You know what you need? A wholesome news story. A baby giraffe named Msituni (weep) has been fitted with custom, human medical-grade leg braces to help her walk after being born with a life-threatening leg condition.
The condition is called hyperextended carpi, which means that Msituni’s front limbs bend the wrong way. She was born back on February 1 at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. At the time, staff were concerned she wouldn’t make it if they didn’t correct the condition as it would prevent Msituni from both nursing and walking.
The thing was, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park didn’t have any experience fitting a baby giraffe in a leg brace. Msituni was 178 centimetres as a newborn and growing quickly every day. For context, I’m 176 centimetres tall and consistently told “you’re tall… for a girl”. Whatever the shit that means. So Msituni was well and truly sizeable from the get-go.
The park decided to reach out to orthotics experts about creating a solution, using cast mouldings to create carbon graphite braces. The braces even had a giraffe print on them! It took eight days to construct, and 10 days to correct the condition. My heart (which it turns out I have) may burst.
Msituni became Hanger Clinic’s Ara Mirzaian‘s very first animal patient. He’s been in the biz for over three decades, fitting braces for Paralympians, children with scoliosis and more. And now he gets to add a baby giraffe to the CV.
As part of Msituni’s recovery process, the safari park first introduced her to another calf named Nuru, as well as Nuru’s mother, Yamikani, to ease her back in before returning to the tower with the rest of the giraffes. But on April 5 she rejoined her friends and fam in the 60-acre Savanna habitat. And now? She’s off the antibiotics, her legs are positioned properly and she’s growing (in both height and weight).
Check out the journey below if you have a soul that likes to be complete:
I expect several updates a week on Msituni now that I’ve chucked this account a follow.
Chantelle Schmidt is a freelance writer. You can follow her on IG here.