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Newborn giraffe dies at Niabi Zoo

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A newborn giraffe died a few hours after it was born at Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois.

Mimi gave birth to the female calf August 13, 2013.

Zoo Director Marc Heinzman said calf weighed 124 pounds at birth and initially behaved as expected, including trying several times to stand for the first time.

Zoo staff noticed the calf was having breathing troubles about two-and-a-half hours after it was born.  It died just before 11:30 a.m. that day.

“This was a terrible loss that was felt by everyone at the zoo, particularly the
giraffe care staff. Our experienced animal care and veterinary staff made every
attempt to resuscitate the calf, but ultimately we were unable to help her pull
through,” Heinzman said.  “We are continuing to keep a close eye on Mimi to make sure she continues to do well.”

The calf was sent to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine for a full necropsy.  The results are expected in late August.

Heinzman said studies of wild giraffes have shown half of giraffe calves do not survive past six months of age.

Mimi has previously given birth to two healthy calves.