Columbus Zoo mourns loss of giraffe calf


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A giraffe calf died at birth Tuesday at the Columbus Zoo.

According to the zoo, five-year-old Cami started showing signs of labor around 3 pm Tuesday. Veterinarians quickly realized something was wrong, and the calf was presenting rear legs first. Giraffes are typically born front legs first.

According to the zoo:

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 4:50 p.m. to allow for the necessary intervention and to ensure that Cami and the calf’s health and safety were not compromised as a result.

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 Cesarean section at approximately 8 p.m. 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. Cesarean sections in giraffes are extremely rare and typically conducted as a last resort due to the high risks involved in putting giraffes under anesthesia and successful recovery. After the calf was extracted via Cesarean section, 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.

Cami, a 6-year-old female Masai giraffe, came to the Columbus Zoo in 2013 from the Nashville Zoo. Father, Enzi, is the 8-year-old breeding male Masai giraffe, and he arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2013 after first being at The Wilds and the Toledo Zoo, where he was born. The pairing of Enzi with Cami was based on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for giraffes.

This isn’t the first giraffe calf death of the year for the Columbus Zoo.

A female giraffe calf, named Ubuwe, was born on October 30. She died on November 17.

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