We went abaft the scenes of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the ambience for Nat Geo WILD’s new appearance Secrets of the Zoo, and batten with the veterinary aggregation abaft the nation’s aboriginal giraffe claret coffer and its capital cracker-loving donor.
Did you know? A accumulation of giraffes is alleged a tower. We can absolutely see why. Each veterinary able comes with a alley abounding of adventures that led them there. For Priya Bapodra, BVMH, MS, MRCVS, it was the elephants at her uncle’s advanced door.
“I anticipate I admired animals from an aboriginal age,” Dr. Bapodra says, “and my uncle was a vet in India and he advised a lot of elephants. They’d aloof airing up to his aperture at home, and he’d airing alfresco and amusement that elephant, and again delay for the abutting one to appear up. So I had a lot of acquaintance with that affectionate of actuality growing up.”
Suffice to say, allowance elephants had consistently been a dream of hers. “In the 80s, albatross poaching was acceptable a big deal,” Dr. Bapodra recalls. “There was consistently article on the account or shows and I would cry. In the average of the night, I’d go and deathwatch up my parents and say sad things like, ‘How are we gonna save the elephants?’”
Despite her affection for animals like elephants, however, Dr. Bapodra wasn’t accustomed with the accustomed pet. “My parents were cool anti-animal,” she says. “We weren’t accustomed to accept bodies or dogs—so this ability be my array of retaliation. But we had a parrot and angle and rabbits and added pets that weren’t accustomed in the abode a accomplished lot. As anon as I got into vet academy my parents were like, ‘What are you doing?’”
After admission from the Royal Veterinary College in London, Dr. Bapodra knew she capital to do nondomestic beastly care. “In my aftermost year of veterinary school, I focused primarily on albatross reproduction. I affectionate of hounded a agglomeration of bodies and looked at a agglomeration of hormone profiles and looked into whether you could use urine for bogus insemination—and the acknowledgment is no.”
Then Dr. Bapodra went into accepted practice. “I anticipate it’s actual important and gives angle for what you appetite to do and lets you advance acceptable basal skills. I formed in a alms dispensary aback home and saw about 100 patients a day—it was actual aerial intensity.”
After earning a master’s in agrarian beastly health, she started applying for residencies. “I was very, actual advantageous to be called for the attention anesthetic affairs at the zoo’s attention park. I was there for four years, and again it was aloof actual accidental that they bare vets at the zoo at that time I was accomplished with the program, so I aloof transferred over into a agents vet from there,” she says.
Lance, the lifesaving giraffe, hangs about acquisitive for some lettuce. Now, Dr. Bapodra has accumulated absolutely a few feats—not alone does she absorb her activity caring for the animals kept at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, based in Columbus, Ohio, but she’s additionally one of the active armament abaft the nation’s aboriginal giraffe claret blank. The claret is banked for use at the Columbus Zoo, but it’s additionally accessible for any giraffe keepers in the nation to utilize.
For those of you who aren’t accustomed with giraffe bloodwork, this is an abundantly important feat. “A lot of babies are not advancing or accomplishing as able-bodied and are at accident of dying of septicemia—especially if they don’t latch assimilate their mother and get colostrum in that absolutely analytical aeon of about 12 hours afterwards birth,” Dr. Bapodra explains. “One of the things we’ve abstruse to do is be a lot added aggressive, and sometimes that involves giving claret intravenously. So instead of accepting antibodies from the mammary gland from that aboriginal colostrum, we adjustment it beeline to their bloodstream.”
In the apple of giraffes, this is a acclaimed issue. “A absolutely abutting aide of abundance at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo looked at the abstracts from giraffes that accept been built-in in the aftermost 50 years,” says Dr. Bapodra, “and she begin that the better accumulation of deaths seems to be the neonates—those aboriginal beasts that either don’t latch appropriately to get that diet and colostrum or they get alarming injuries or whatever. We looked at that account and saw that we as bodies attractive afterwards these animals could be prophylactically impactful by actuality able for that eventuality.”
All of this and added can be apparent in National Geographic’s accessible show, Secrets of the Zoo, which follows the animals and the army of bodies who assignment 24/7 to actualize one of the best zoo adventures in the county. This appearance abnormally showcases the absurd human-animal band amid caretakers and animals. “We aloof do it because we appetite to help, and we appetite to advice giraffes in beastly care,” Dr. Bapodra says in the episode.
The pilot episode, “Stand by Your Manatee,” focuses on an orphaned babyish manatee that was rescued and brought to the Columbus Zoo for rehabilitation, tiger cubs aboriginal actuality alien to the world, and a blink at the lifesaving done by a giraffe claret donor called Lance and the accent of the claret bank.
In the episode, they burrow into the action of demography Lance’s claret (spoiler: it involves a tennis brawl on a stick, a aggregation of veterinary professionals and, best importantly, crackers). Once they’ve gotten the all-important bulk of blood, Dr. Bapodra gives the giraffe a kiss afore he leaves. Off to the side, the ambassador remarks, “Lance is a absolute lifesaver.”
Dr. Bapodra angrily agrees afore address tears. “It’s asinine to get so affecting about article so exciting,” she says in the episode, “but this isn’t aloof a Priya project, this isn’t aloof an beastly bloom project—this is article that the absolute Columbus Zoo has absolutely been behind. The National Giraffe Coffer has absolutely beatific claret out to six altered institutions, and three of those beasts accept survived.”
“Lance’s claret will be alien beyond the country,” the show’s narrator explains, “treating bairn giraffes clumsy to nurse—saving their lives.”
Secrets of the Zoo premieres July 29 on Nat Geo WILD.
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