DENVER -- It sounds like a riddle out of "Alice in Wonderland:" How do you make a reticulated giraffe stand still?
But it's a very real challenge for the Denver Zoo and its four giraffes. When the patient stands 18 feet tall and weighs 1.5 tons, even the most routine medical checkup turns into a logistical nightmare that can be dangerous for both doctor and animal.
So the zoo is seeking crowdfunding for a "SNUGG" -- a Safe Nurturing Upright Gateway for Giraffes. The custom-made padded corral would allow zookeepers to comfortably confine the huge creatures while they undergo procedures ranging from vision checks to manicures.
At $75,000, the device isn't cheap. But it provides a pair of immeasurable benefits, the zoo said: The towering animals could remain standing while keepers work, and they wouldn't have to be anesthetized for procedures nearly as often.
"Because of a giraffe's unique physiology, giving anesthesia can be dangerous," the zoo notes on its crowdfunding page.
The device was designed, and would be built, in-house.
As of Wednesday, the zoo had raised nearly $35,000 of the $75,000 goal.