By JON HAWORTH, ABC News
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — A newborn giraffe has died in a tragic accident shortly after it was born when it was stepped on by its own mother.
The incident occurred at the Nashville Zoo and was announced on Jan. 16 when the zoo’s pregnant giraffe named Nasha went into labor as thousands of people watched the event live online during a live feed.
Shortly after labor, however, complications with the baby giraffe began to develop and medical intervention was required from Dr. Matthew DeLisle from the Tennessee Equine Hospital and the zoo’s veterinary team who were able to eventually 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.”
According to a statement from the Nashville Zoo, the animal care team immediately intervened but were unsuccessful in their attempts at reviving or saving the calf.
A necropsy showed that the newborn giraffe had suffered trauma to the neck but the giraffe will undergo further testing to see if there may have been any underlying causes involved with the death although initial observations did not indicate anything specific.
This was Nasha’s first birth and the Nashville Zoo said that she is doing well in spite of the tragedy and that zookeepers will be giving her “an abundance of comfort and care for the next few days.”
“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 being followed by thousands of people all over the world thanks to three cameras that had been installed in her pen by ABC News’ Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV.
“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,” the Nashville Zoo said in a statement.
The zoo also posted the tragic news on Instagram saying: “We are heartbroken to announce that Nasha’s calf died shortly after our birth announcement earlier … Thank you all for your support over the past few weeks and especially during this tough time.”
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.