Louisville Zoo giraffe delivers stillborn

Louisville Zoo Grieves Stillborn Masai Giraffe
Louisville Zoo Grieves Stillborn Masai Giraffe(Louisville Zoo)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 11:35 AM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Zoo announced sad news that their Masai giraffe, Kianga, delivered a stillborn calf Wednesday afternoon.

The calf was delivered around 2:52 p.m., after two and a half hours of active labor, the Zoo said. He weighed in at 165 pounds, which the Zoo says is large for most calves, as they’re usually born weighing between 125 and 150 pounds.

Kianga had not shown any signs of complications throughout her 15-month pregnancy, and delivered the calf after a full-term pregnancy.

The birth was monitored on a closed-circuit TV to allow Kianga privacy and to avoid disturbing her throughout her labor and delivery.

“In these situations, our first priority is the health and welfare of the mom,” the Zoo’s Senior Veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi said. “Kianga is a first-time mother, so we wanted to provide a quiet space where she could birth the calf as naturally as possible, without disruption.”

After the birth, Kianga stayed close to her calf for a while and showed no signs of physical distress, the Zoo said. Giraffe keepers will continue to monitor her for the next several days.

“As you can imagine, our keepers are devastated,” Louisville Zoo Director Dan Maloney said. “To spend 15 months caring for an expectant mom, marking her progress, working in anticipation for that day, it’s just so heartbreaking when a birth doesn’t go as planned, even though we recognize there are risks for any pregnancy. Right now, we will console our teams, grieve for Kianga, and hopefully gain insights for the next giraffe birth.”

A necropsy was performed Thursday evening, but it will be several weeks before all pathology results are available, the release said.

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