Source: Santa Barbara Zoo
We are deeply saddened to share that Audrey, the Zoo’s 14-year-old female Masai giraffe, lost her calf late last night during childbirth.
Audrey went into labor around 5:15 PM on July 27 while outside in the giraffe habitat. Animal care staff jumped into action immediately to bring her into the barn and prepare for delivery. She was in labor for six and a half hours with keepers and veterinary staff present who supported her throughout the entire process.
After a prolonged labor, staff could see that the calf was not moving, and it became clear that it was stillborn. Audrey was given time with her calf and then walked away of her own accord. She was able to see the rest of the herd within an hour and started eating and drinking around that time as well, a great sign of her continued health.
Our entire Zoo community will undoubtedly be heartbroken by this news. Unfortunately, there are risks with any birth and there is always the possibility of a negative outcome. In this case, there was nothing that could have been done to save the calf. In fact, trying to intervene in the birth of such a large animal would pose an even bigger risk to Audrey.
Audrey will be back out in the habitat later today since it is important for her to remain social and active. While our Zoo family is understandably sad, it’s imperative that her caretakers shift quickly into taking care of Audrey going forward.
A special thank you to the keepers and veterinary staff who were with Audrey late into the night. They have given extraordinary care throughout Audrey’s pregnancy and last night’s heartbreaking events were no different. As always, our staff will continue to support each other and our animals through this difficult time.