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Zoo mourns loss of second giraffe calf in 2 weeks

We are saddened to report the loss of another giraffe calf at the Columbus Zoo.

This is the second Masai calf death in as many weeks.

Yesterday, mama giraffe Cami went into labor in a behind-the-scenes area of the Heart of Africa region.


As Cami’s labor progressed, zoo staff noticed that the calf was coming out rear hooves first, presenting a situation that often times results in the death of a calf as they’re usually born front hooves first.

In order to do everything possible to save both mom and baby, the Columbus Zoo animal care team made the decision to enter the stall and turned off the National Geographic livestream cameras at approximately 4:50pm.

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During the intervention, the Zoo’s animal care team, as well as a large animal surgeon from The Ohio State University, attempted to manually extract the calf from Cami without success.

They then performed an emergency C-section at approximately 8pm which is an extremely rare procedure for giraffes.

After the calf was extracted, the veterinary team found that the calf had serious congenital defects and thus would not have survived even if it had been born front hooves first.

While Cami’s condition is currently stable, her prognosis remains guarded, and she will continue to be monitored around the clock by the Zoo’s animal care experts.

The news about Cami’s calf follows the loss of another Masai giraffe, Ubumwe, who sadly passed away on the morning of November 17.

The two most recent giraffe births are the first to have occurred in the Heart of Africa region since its opening in 2014.

“The loss of any animal is heartbreaking to the Columbus Zoo’s devoted animal care and animal health teams, particularly two whose births were as anticipated as these giraffe calves’. Despite the sad outcome, I am proud of our caring professionals for the great measures they took to try to save both Ubumwe, as well as Cami’s calf. Many animals, including giraffe calves, are extremely vulnerable when they are born—both in their native range and in human care. While we certainly understand the potential challenges, our team remains proactive, vigilant, and prepared to assist Cami however necessary. We are grateful for both the outpouring of support from giraffe fans around the world, as well as from our professional conservation community, as we continue our commitment to working to protect the future of wildlife,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.

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