Accidents happen, even to giraffes.
No sooner had a baby giraffe made its way into the world at Nashville Zoo despite delivery complications, than its first-time mother apparently stepped on it by accident, officials reported Saturday. The baby, whose name the zoo did not reveal, died.
Mamma giraffe Nasha had gone into labor as thousands watched via an online live feed, Nashville Zoo said. But complications developed, and “medical intervention was required,” the zoo said. A veterinary team, working with specialists from Tennessee Equine Hospital, delivered the calf.
But their joy was short-lived.
“The calf appeared to be thriving on an initial exam,” said zoo director of veterinary medicine Dr. Heather Schwartz in a statement. “We moved the newborn to be with her mother, and the two were bonding. During this time, Nasha may have inadvertently injured her calf. The giraffe keepers noticed that the calf was in distress.”
This time, the calf could not be saved. Initial necropsy showed trauma to the neck, the zoo said.
“We are devastated over the loss of Nasha’s calf,” zoo president and CEO Rick Schwartz said in the statement. “Our staff has worked tirelessly to make sure this calf was given the best possible care. We moved from fear of a stillborn to joy of revival to anguish.”
Further testing will be done for more details on the calf’s death, the zoo said, according to WKRN-TV. Meanwhile, Nasha is being given extra TLC – and carrots – as she recovers from the difficult birth and its aftermath.
The loss is especially devastating given the big picture. Nasha is a Masai giraffe, once the most populous variant of the species but today numbering about 35,000, down from 71,000 three decades ago, reported CNN, citing the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.