Local

Baby giraffe passes away at Chaffee Zoo

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A sad day at the Chaffee Zoo. The newest member of its animal family, a baby giraffe, died suddenly Tuesday morning and zookeepers are baffled by this loss.

Uzuri cared for her baby giraffe for one week while under supervision at the Chaffee Zoo. Zookeepers said you can clearly see the mother/ daughter bond one day after birth.

People came from around the Valley to see her Tuesday only to learn she had passed away. "You know that is how nature works. It is the circle of life. But it's just heartbreaking," Fresno's Janice Ivy said.

Lance Rowland from Bakersfield said, "We're disappointed. The kids are disappointed you know they don't really understand what happened."

Adrienne Castro is the director of education at Chaffee Zoo and was asked, "How common is it for baby giraffes to die in captivity" to which she said, "It's not extremely common however it does happen."

Castro said from the start everything seemed fine. "[There were] no signs of depression or anything like that where she wasn't interested in food or the social group at all."

In fact Castro and other zoo personnel saw nothing that caused concern until Monday afternoon. That's when they noticed the baby seizing.

"When they noticed that immediately they notified our vet and our vet notified other folks within our zoo community to see if there is anything we could possibly do," Castro said.

Vets tried coupling medication with constant supervision but the giraffe suffered another seizure and around 3:30 a.m., it passed away.

Right now the mother Uzuri is being kept off to the side away from the other males because they still want to mate. Zookeepers say the mother was with her baby until the very last moments.

"She'd follow mom around really closely so naturally there's that maternal instinct," Castro said.

There is some positive news coming out of this loss. Zookeepers said one of their other giraffes is pregnant and is due to give birth this summer.

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Tags:
fresno, chaffee zoo, animal, local, john-thomas kobos
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