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Giraffes Held Captive

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Giraffes are a big attraction in zoos because of their friendly and outgoing behavior. However, in the wild they are not as acquaint. Their lives are dramatically different in captivity than they would be if they were living in the wild. In the wild a giraffes diet consists of grass, twigs, leaves, and fruits from the trees. However, in captivity they are fed a carefully balanced diet to give them the nutrients that their bodies need. This includes alfalfa hay, pellets with added vitamins, crackers that have a lot of grain and possibly even tree bark in them, and fruit and vegetables ("Giraffes in Captivity"). Giraffes tend to consume a lot of water all at one time. When doing this in captivity it is much safer because the water is purified and safe for them to drink, but when they drink a lot in the wild they are more susceptible to dying from getting viruses obtained from the water. In the wild giraffes live about 20 to 25 years depending on gender, but in zoos giraffes live a bit longer. They live from 28 to 30 years of age. Also, in captivity calves have a greater chance of survival because there are no predators such as hyenas, leopards, wild dogs, or crocodiles. 50% of calves don't survive the first 6 moths of their life because of predators. In the wild, giraffes who reach adult hood are much more likely to survive from predators because they can use a forceful kick fending off any attackers ("Giraffe - The Facts"). In the wild, giraffes do not lay down very much because if a predator were to attempt to attack they would not have enough time to stand up and defend themselves. However, in captivity giraffes do not have to worry about lions attacking them, so they lie down much more. Additionally, in captivity giraffes are given toys and other objects for stimulation due to the lack of environment that they have to roam around in ("Giraffes in Captivity"). Recently at the Copenhagen zoo in Denmark a healthy baby giraffe, Marius, was killed. The zoo said they "euthanized" Marius to prevent inbreeding ("Zoo official on Marius"). A vet shot Marius on the top of his head as he was leaning down to eat a snack. After an autopsy was performed, the giraffe was dissected in front of an audience that included horrified children, and was fed to the zoo's lions, tigers, and leopards.

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