It's been a very hard week for the Columbus Zoo after dealing with the loss of a baby giraffe and its mother just four days apart. They are mourning these two beautiful animals at a time that was expected to be a joyous event for the entire staff.
A statement was posted on the official site of the Columbus Zoo reporting that Cami had passed away early Saturday morning. She had an emergency C-section performed on December 4 in an attempt to save her baby that was coming out with its back hooves first. That is considered highly unusual as they are typically born with their front hooves first. The team decided to proceed with a C-section to try to save the baby giraffe. Unfortunately, it was found to have serious congenital defects and died.
Cami had been monitored around the clock while she was recovering from the surgery. Performing a cesarean on a giraffe is said to be a last resort decision and very rare. It is considered a high-risk procedure putting them under anesthesia. According to the zoo, there are only three documented cases of a giraffe mom surviving the surgery and they are all from outside the U.S.
The report revealed that Cami, a Masai giraffe, had collapsed around 1 a.m. and was too weak to rise. The team treating her gave her fluids and did their best to care for her, but unfortunately, she didn't make it. As far as they could tell from the blood work taken, Cami had acute kidney failure. However, the final cause of death will not be determined until a full necropsy is done.Tom Stalf, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's President/CEO, explained how devastated their team is to lose both Cami and her calf. Another baby giraffe named Ubumwe also died last month when she was only 18-days-old. These unexpected losses are tremendously difficult for the zoo's staff, but they are said to be uplifted by all of the support received from the community and beyond.
Stalf also noted in his statement that giraffes have become quite vulnerable as he said, "Every individual animal in our care is extremely important not only to us, but to their species, and as giraffe populations are declining rapidly in their native ranges, it is up to all of us to help protect them. Working to help vulnerable species like giraffes comes with both triumphant and heartbreaking moments, and even during this sad time, I am proud of the Columbus Zoo's work on behalf of animals in our care as well as our continued commitment to the conservation of giraffes in Africa."
Despite their sadness and heartbreak, the Columbus Zoo is striving to protect this species for the future, as well as others that need as much help as possible to thrive.