Baby giraffe dies at Columbus Zoo

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (NBC4) A baby giraffe born just weeks ago died this morning at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Ubumwe, the Masai female calf, was found dead at 8:30 a.m.

The cause of death is unknown, zoo officials said.

Officials said they will not have any more information until a necropsy, an animal autopsy is conducted and a pathology report is received in several weeks.

A team of animal care professionals had been monitoring the calf and her mother, Zuri, around the clock since she was born on Oct. 30.

Officials said Ubumwe had been energetic and nursing as appropriate, however, her care team noted Friday afternoon that her behavior and appearance began to change.

Ubumwe was constipated and fluids and pain medication were administered to minimize gastrointestinal discomfort. After an examination, Ubumwe resumed nursing from Zuri.

During the early evening hours, Ubumwe’s care providers noticed that she still seemed to be experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort, so a follow-up exam was conducted that included an ultrasound.

Her care team provided Ubumwe with additional fluids.

Her condition became critical as the ultrasound showed an abnormality of the bowel, and she was then anesthetized and taken to the Zoo’s Animal Health Center for a CT scan, which was done with the assistance of an equine veterinary specialist and radiologist from The Ohio State University, officials said.

The CT scan did not show a blockage or other reason for her discomfort that would warrant surgery, but the calf continued to receive intensive care from the Zoo’s animal care professionals and remained in another behind-the-scenes area, where she appeared stable and comfortable overnight.

Early this morning, however, Ubumwe’s health deteriorated rapidly once again, and died.

“The Zoo’s devoted animal care team is devastated but remain committed to providing care to the other members of the giraffe herd, including Zuri who is moving back with them, as well as Cami, who is also expecting a calf soon,” officials wrote in a statement. “We appreciate your support for our team during this extremely difficult time and will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.”

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