Tragedy for zoo as baby giraffe dies
By Herald Express | Thursday, August 29, 2013, 07:00
PAIGNTON Zoo's baby giraffe has died at just eight days old.
died: The male calf born to Janica and Yoda at the zoo
The male calf was found in its stall by keepers early yesterday morning.
It was born to mother Janica and father Yoda on August 20.
Senior head keeper of mammals, Matthew Webb, said: "Keepers were watching the calf closely each day and he had been doing very well, he was strong and active, coming out with the rest of the herd and resting in the paddock in the sun.
"His mother was attentive but it's possible either she did not have enough milk, or was simply not allowing him to feed properly. Giraffe babies can go downhill very quickly — with most new-borns, if they get ill or haven't fed properly they will fade very rapidly. We did not step in, as he was obviously getting milk — hand rearing is very much a last resort. This was a shock to all of us."
Paignton Zoo curator of mammals, Neil Bemment, said: "This is very sad, but when you work with animals there are ups and downs and you have to carry on, especially when you are working with endangered species.
"A post mortem examination will be carried out. One possibility is he had not had enough milk from mum, but he could have caught an infection, so we can't be sure at this stage."
Janica has had three calves: Tonda, who went to Chessington earlier in the year, Valentino and this calf.
The Zoo's herd consists of adults Yoda, Janica and Sangha and juveniles Valentino and Otilie. They are all Rothschild's (Baringo) giraffes. Rothschild's giraffes are classified as Endangered – there is a European Endangered species Programme for the species.
In 2006 three giraffes died at the zoo, including a week-old baby.
Herald Express readers rallied to raise £7,400 to help pay for transporting replacements, proving a tree and a plaque in their memory.