On October 26, 2023, Jabari, a 16-year old, 423 pound male lion was immobilized transported to Zoo Miami's Animal Hospital for his annual physical exam. A social media release from Zoo Miami gives a behind-the-scenes look into the process of Jabari's treatment and the zoo's preventative medicine program.
According to the Facebook post from Zoo Miami, Jabari's physical exam included the collection of blood and urine, as well as radiographs, an ultrasound, a dental cleaning, and routine eye and ear exams. He also received a minor manicure, having his claws trimmed and cleaned.
The post is accompanied by several photos of Jabari receiving his exam.
In addition to the routine exam, the 423 pound lion received vaccinations for rabies, canine distemper, and feline distemper.
"The reason that the lion is vaccinated against rabies, as well as canine and feline distemper, [is] because they are susceptible to those diseases." writes Zoo Miami in the comments section. "Though we try our very best to protect our animals from exposure, there are many native animals that call the wild areas of ZOO MIAMI home such as raccoons and foxes, that can act as conduits."
While Zoo Miami state that it's rare for animals to come in direct contact with native species, they can't guarantee that it won't happen.
"Vaccinations are just another layer of protection that plays an important role in our preventative medicine program." writes Zoo Miami.
Zoo Miami Staff say these routine exams play a critical role in the Animal Health Team being able to closely monitor the animals that call their habitats home, giving them a leg up in catching potential problems before they become serious.
"Because wild animals will instinctively disguise symptoms of being ill to avoid predation or other types of aggression, by the time they do display those symptoms, the disease is likely to be significantly advanced and much more difficult to treat." the zoo concluded.
Other than some small skin issues that were biopsied out of an abundance for caution, Zoo Miami Staff say that Jabari appears to have a good bill of health and has since been returned to his habitat for recovery, with an expected return to public viewing this weekend.
Article by Rachael Volpe