HOUSTON – A giraffe at the Houston Zoo died Monday while delivering a calf. The baby giraffe didn’t survive either.
Noel, a 15-year-old Masai giraffe, was among the most popular animals at the zoo.
Noel began showing signs of labor at approximately 7 o’clock Monday morning.
"Noel had been showing steady progress with the calf’s head and one foot extending from the birth canal," said Houston Zoo Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Joe Flanagan. "But when we did not see the other foot emerge, we administered a mild sedative to calm Noel so that veterinarians and keepers could get closer and assist in the birth."
The calf emerged from the birth canal at approximately 9:30 a.m. with the assistance of the Houston Zoo’s veterinary care team and keepers. It was pronounced dead within a few minutes.
Noel passed away at approximately 11:30 a.m.
"We are all grieving and devastated by the loss of Noel and her calf," said Flanagan. "The Houston Zoo has never before lost a giraffe mother and calf during labor."
Noel is survived by two other calves. Miles was born in January 2009 and Neema was born in August 2007.
She came to the Houston Zoo from San Diego in 1997 at the age of 2.
Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animal. The average male is about 17 feet tall and can weigh 3,000 pounds, while an average female is over 14 feet tall. A giraffe is one of the few animals born with horns. A baby giraffe’s horns lie flat against the skull when it is born and pop upright during the first week of life.
Source:The Houston Zoo