Lehigh Valley Zoo
April 13, 2021
(Schnecksville, PA) – Murphy, our 20-year-old Masai giraffe, is directly benefiting from the Lehigh Valley Zoo’s affiliation with the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This accreditation means we meet the highest standard of animal care. This encompasses everything from welfare, healthcare, husbandry, and training; and often means that our animals exceed the life expectancies of their wild counterparts.
Care for our animals at all ages is of great importance, which means the senior citizens at the zoo like Murphy receive tailored health plans to monitor any age-related health matters. Examples of his health care plan involve a lot of cooperative husbandry training. He is trained to do voluntary blood draws, hoof work, and even hoof x-rays. This helps our on-site veterinary team coordinate his care with his zookeepers.
Recently, Murphy started showing signs of stiffness in one of his legs. His keepers and the veterinarians were able to quickly come up with a care plan to ensure Murphy was moving around comfortably. Part of this plan is giving Murphy time to rest in his “bedroom” off-exhibit. We’re also taking this time to do bloodwork more frequently so we can see if there are any other health related matters that need to be addressed. We will continue to update our staff and guests with ongoing changes of Murphy’s care and the other senior citizens of the zoo!
Murphy arrived at the Lehigh Valley Zoo in 2017 from Kansas City Zoo. He is beloved by many Lehigh Valley Zoo fans and is well known for his sweet yet persistent personality. Prior to giraffe feedings, he can often be found surveying the crowd (perhaps to see how many new friends and treats he will receive) and he is usually the first to the feeding deck.
Our gentle giant is always happy to take any lettuce offered and, if you are lucky, you may even see an ear wiggle while he chomps on his food. Murphy is also an excellent student when it comes to training and he is a great teacher to Tatu, who is learning to become an adult giraffe.
As part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), Murphy and Tatu are important contributors to their species and help educate guests about conservation for Masai giraffes. Since the introduction of giraffe to the Lehigh Valley Zoo, we have proudly contributed more than $30,000 to their conservation in the wild by supporting the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). GCF, giraffeconservation.org, is the only organization in the world that focuses solely on the conservation and management of this iconic animal in the wild throughout Africa. GCF works closely with many partners in Africa and internationally to ensure high priority for giraffe on national and regional conservation agendas by identifying and providing long-term conservation solutions for all giraffe populations in the wild. The Lehigh Valley Zoo is proud to provide a home for Murphy and Tatu and stand tall for giraffes as we support the future of the species.
As a member-supported non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society was founded in 2004, but it has been treasured community landmark for centuries. Located in the Lehigh Valley’s Trexler Game Preserve, we have educated and entertained more than five million people.
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts year-round, family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. Through a mission to create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests of all ages, the Zoo demonstrates leadership in the cultural, scientific and conservation communities. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook @LVZOO.