Baby giraffe, born while the world watched, dies at Nashville zoo

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Nashville Zoo is mourning the loss of a newborn giraffe so anxiously awaited by people around the world.

The zoo says the calf died shortly after its birth after being stepped on by her mother, Nasha.

Nasha went into labor under many watchful eyes of people tuning in through an online live feed on wkrn.com. Shortly into labor, complications developed.

Nasha was not progressing appropriately with her delivery and medical intervention was required. With assistance from Dr. Matthew DeLisle from Tennessee Equine Hospital, the zoo’s veterinary team successfully delivered the calf.

“The calf appeared to be thriving on an initial exam, said Dr. Heather Schwartz, Nashville Zoo’s Director of Veterinary Medicine. “We moved the newborn to be with her mother and the two were bonding. During this time, Nasha may have inadvertently injured her calf. The giraffe keepers noticed that the calf was in distress.”

The animal care team intervened again but was unsuccessful in saving the calf’s life. An initial necropsy revealed trauma to the calf’s neck, but further testing will follow to see if there were any underlying causes for the newborn’s death.

“We are devastated over the loss of Nasha’s calf,” said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo’s President, and CEO. “Our staff has worked tirelessly to make sure this calf was given the best possible care. We moved from fear of a stillborn to joy of revival to anguish.”

Thousands of people followed Nasha’s pregnancy online thanks to three camera installed by News 2. During newscasts, News 2 frequently updated viewers on the status of Nasha’s pregnancy and encouraged viewers to watch the “Baby Giraffe Cam” through their website.

The Nashville Zoo also included live cameras on their “Baby Boom” webpage.

This was the first time Nasha has given birth. The Zoo says she is doing well and giraffe keepers will be giving her lots of comfort and care over the next few days.

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