Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Massage therapy for lame giraffe at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

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An 11-year-old giraffe has been receiving treatments more commonly given to racehorses to help with age-related aches and pains.

Rangers at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, had noticed Behanisin was slightly lame on his left foreleg and had a sore shoulder.

He has been receiving laser therapy and treatments from a pulse massage machine from equine chiropractors.

Staff at the park said the giraffe was reacting well to his therapy.

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Simon Marsh, animal collection manager at the park, said as giraffes aged physiological complaints were common, just as in people.

"Giraffes can weigh up to a tonne so that is a lot of weight on their frame," he said.

It is also thought the giraffe has arthritis.

Image copyright Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Image caption Behansin has been trained to position himself next to the keepers so they can provide his therapy

Low-level laser therapy is used to treat and soften the muscles to allow Behansin to move more freely and take longer strides.

He also gets regular treatment with a pulse massage machine that stimulates soft tissue, increases blood flow through the muscle and improves joint mobility.

Mr Marsh said: "He loves the attention and always has a very calm, relaxed look when the session is over."


  • Giraffes, Giraffa camelopardalis, are the world's tallest animals
  • A male giraffe can grow up to 18ft (5.5m) tall
  • At birth giraffe calves are 6ft (1.8m) tall
  • There are nine subspecies of giraffe, however Behansin is a hybrid giraffe belonging to none of the nine
  • Giraffes can live up to 40 years

Source: Yorkshire Wildlife Park

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