Baby giraffe dies at Columbus Zoo following complications with birth

Giraffe (Cami) - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced the death of a giraffe calf on Tuesday.

The zoo said Cami, the mother, showed signs of labor around 3 p.m.

As the labor progressed, it became clear the rear hooves of the calf were coming out first.

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The zoo said it is rare for calves to survive when they are born with their rear hooves first.

The loss of the calf on Tuesday follows the death of another calf, Ubumwe, last month.

During the labor on Tuesday, the zoo's animal care team and an animal surgeon from the Ohio State University attempted to manually get the calf out but were not successful.

An emergency Cesarean section was performed at approximately 8 p.m.

The zoo said Cesarean sections in giraffes are extremely rare and are used as a last resort because of the high risks involved.

The veterinary team found that the calf had serious congenital defects and would not have survived even if it was born with its front hooves first.

Cami's condition is stable but the zoo said her prognosis remains guarded. She will continue to be monitored.

Cami, a 6-year-old Masai giraffe, came to the Columbus Zoo in 2013 from Nashville.

The father, Enzi, is 8 years old and also arrived at the zoo in 2013. He was previously at the Wilds and the Toledo Zoo.

“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’," said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.

"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."

There have been 19 giraffes born at the Columbus Zoo before Cami's calf on Tuesday and Zuri's calf last month.