POWELL, Ohio (WCMH) — While most of the action in the Columbus Zoo’s Heart of Africa is on the savanna or the feeding yard there is also quite a bit happening behind the scenes in the massive giraffe barn.

Inside there are massive stalls to house the zoo’s 17 giraffes, including a large common space where a lot of training takes place. “We call this our mezzanine, so we can do training from here or we can do it from our stalls. “Shannon Borders, the Heart of Africa curator.

The staff take their cues from the giraffe on where they are most comfortable whether it be for hoof care or blood draws. Some of those are extended blood draws for the zoo’s plasma program. “What were able to do is the in-house animal health is able to spin it down…and that is our plasma cells. we then freeze it, and we can use it in-house if we have maybe a baby that’s born that has a nursed in the first 24 hours. because that plasma is really going to give all those antibodies that the babies need. or more often times than not we’re getting calls from other zoos and we’re sending it out.”

The program has saved the lives of countless giraffes including the first recipient which was the catalyst for fast tracking the program after the zoo’s Dr Priya received an emergency call from another zoo. “By the end of the day we had five giraffes that were doing these large blood draws. We actually drove that blood to another zoo and that baby survived and she recently just had a baby of her own. It really shows the importance of it and it’s just so cool how we contribute here in Columbus Ohio.”

To see an inside look of the giraffe barn and baby Charlie watch our full story in the player above. To learn more about the Columbus Zoo’s Heart of Africa, click here.