Niabi Zoo Giraffe Calf Dies Shortly After Birth PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Marc Heinzman   
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 07:29
Coal Valley, IL – August 20, 2013 – The staff at Niabi Zoo is mourning the death of a female giraffe calf born on August 13. The calf survived for approximately three hours before a sudden and rapid decline set in. The calf has been sent to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, where a veterinary pathologist is completing a full necropsy (animal autopsy). Full results are expected to be in sometime next week.

“This was a terrible loss that was felt by everyone at the zoo, particularly the giraffe care staff. Our experienced animal care and veterinary staff made every attempt to resuscitate the calf, but ultimately we were unable to help her pull through,” said Marc Heinzman, Niabi Zoo Director.  

The calf was born to Mimi, an experienced mother who has had two healthy and successful calves in years past. Weighing 124 pounds at birth and showing no outward signs of trouble during her initial veterinary exam, the calf began to experience apparent breathing trouble approximately two and half hours after birth. Zoo staff noticed her breathing troubles and intervened in an attempt to increase her rate of respiration. Despite their best efforts, the calf continued to fade until passing away at approximately 11:20 am.

“As with any newborn at the Zoo, we were keeping continuous observations on this calf. She had been exhibiting normal behaviors for newborn giraffes, including several attempts to stand for the first time,” said Heinzman. “We are continuing to keep a close eye on Mimi to make sure she continues to do well.”

Studies of wild giraffes have shown that mortalities of newborn calves are not uncommon. Fifty percent of giraffe calves do not survive past 6 months of age.  

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