Behind the scenes at Denver Zoo

9NEWS@5 3/1/2017

DENVER - In case you get bored watching internet star April the giraffe, check out what the Denver Zoo is doing to keep animals dealing with illnesses comfortable and relaxed.

It may not have a viral animal livestream, but the zoo definitely has a lot of things going on that you can't see online.

Denver Zoo veterinarian Gwen Jankowski works every day to make sure the stars of the zoo are healthy and relaxed. She checks the eyes of seals with cataracts, but only when they are up to it.

“It's up to them if they decide they want to participate, if not they can go on their merry way,” Jankowski said.

Relaxation is Jankowski's goal for Dancer, a penguin with joint pain.

“She's had some degenerative disease commonly called arthritis,” Jankowski said.

She says the 25-year-old penguin's acupuncture treatments have made a big difference.

“We've been able to reduce dancer's medication by half in the past 6 months,” Jankowski said.

Many of the animals Jankowski works with, have serious illnesses, like Bassa, a 40-year-old gorilla.

“She had some bleeding about a year-and-a-half ago and at the time we found out she had uterine cancer,” Jankowski said.

Right now, she's just making sure Bassa stays comfortable.

“Surgery isn't an option and it would be too dangerous to try and take the cancer out,” she said.

The zoo even welcomed a newborn giraffe on Tuesday morning.

Dobby, a male giraffe, was born to mother Kipele — measuring  5 feet tall and weighing 73 pounds –which the zoo says is small for a newborn giraffe.

Mother and baby are resting and bonding in the zoo's giraffe building, and aren't available to be viewed by the public just yet.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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