Newborn giraffe dies at Calgary Zoo; staff notes kidney and bladder problems - 660 NEWS
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Newborn giraffe dies at Calgary Zoo; staff notes kidney and bladder problems

Last Updated Jan 2, 2018 at 4:41 pm MDT

The Calgary Zoo in Bridgeland in Calgary on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. (Photo by Chelsey Harms/660 NEWS) Photo by Chelsey Harms/660 NEWS

UPweb-Newborn giraffe dies at Calgary Zoo; staff notes kidney and bladder problems
Lucas Meyer

The curator for the Calgary Zoo says while they need more tests to determine the official cause of death of a newborn giraffe calf, there are some initial ideas.

“We did note that there were some issues with its kidney and bladder,” Colleen Baird said. “We need to get some more information about that.”

On Dec. 28, the newborn male was born to six-year-old female Emara but wasn’t nursing.

Baird said there were no issues with the birth and Emara took perfect care of the calf, but it was struggling to stand and wasn’t making contact with the mother’s nipples.

The staff intervened with tube feeding and did blood tests.

“(The zoo) let it be and gave it some more time to figure out the nursing thing, once it got some stimulation of food, we thought that could boost it,” she said. “We were hoping that they could connect as far as nursing, that never did happen and then that evening on the second day, he did pass away.

“There could be some congenital issues.”

There are currently three female giraffes and one male, with Emara having had two stillborns before.

Baird said Emara kept trying to nurse and take care of the calf and there will be an attempt to give birth again.

“I think we’ll find out some underlying causes of this death that aren’t really a result necessarily of Emara as far as her mothering abilities, but maybe more something medically going on that maybe we could look into a bit further,” she said. “They are recommended to breed and we will continue to do that to save the species.”

The last successful calf birth was Moshi, born in October 2015 and overall the zoo has had 17 successful giraffe newborns.

“It is very sad, our whole animal care team is just really upset, as well as the whole zoo,” she said. “Everyone can feel that sadness.”

The local zoo has gotten some notoriety for animal deaths, including a group of Humboldt penguins drowning last winter, as well as a deer fatally running into a fence and a peacock getting killed after flying into a lion’s cage this year.

“Every given year, we will have a number of deaths and we will have a number of births because we live in an environment where we are breeding animals, where we’re caring for older animals, we’re receiving new animals,” Baird said.