January 16, 2021
The baby giraffe, so anxiously awaited by people around the world, died shortly after birth today after being stepped on by her mother. Nashville Zoo’s pregnant giraffe, Nasha, went into labor under the watchful eyes of thousands of people tuning in through an online live feed of the event. Shortly into labor, complications developed.
Nasha was not progressing appropriately with her delivery and medical intervention was required. With the help of Dr. Matthew DeLisle from Tennessee Equine Hospital, the Zoo’s veterinary team was able to successfully deliver the calf.
“The calf appeared to be thriving on an initial exam, said Dr. Heather Schwartz, Nashville Zoo’s Director of Veterinary Medicine. “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.”
The animal care team once again intervened but were unsuccessful at saving the calf. An initial necropsy showed trauma to the neck but further testing will follow to determine if there were any underlying causes for the newborn’s death.
“We are devastated over the loss of Nasha’s calf,” said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo’s President, and CEO. “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.”
Nasha’s pregnancy was followed online by thousands of people around the world thanks to three cameras installed by local TV station WKRN. The station’s news programs frequently updated viewers on the status of Nasha’s pregnancy and encouraged people to watch the “Baby Giraffe Cam” through their website. Nashville Zoo also included the live cameras on their “Baby Boom” webpage.
This was Nasha’s first birth. She is doing well and the giraffe keepers will be giving her an abundance of comfort and care for the next few days.
This press release was produced by the Nashville Zoo. The views expressed here are the author’s own.