Calgary

Calgary Zoo's new baby giraffe dies

The Calgary Zoo's new baby giraffe has died. 

Calf was born smaller than expected, zoo said

The Calgary Zoo's 8-year-old giraffe Emara gave birth to a male calf on Sept. 29. On Saturday, the zoo announced the calf had died during the night. (Mona Keith/Calgary Zoo)

The Calgary Zoo's new baby giraffe has died at less than one-week-old.

The male calf had been born to its eight-year-old giraffe Emara on Sept. 29.

This calf was born smaller than expected — leading the zoo to suspect he was born at the early end of the normal gestation range — and on Saturday, the zoo announced in a social media post that the calf had died during the night.

"We knew when he was born so tiny that it would be an uphill battle, but had high hopes that the love of his mama and round the clock care from our team would be enough to help him begin to thrive," the post read.

"We are supporting Emara and our team through this devastating outcome. Please join us in remembering our littlest tower."

Emara was brought to the Calgary Zoo from San Diego in 2016 as part of a breeding program.

She had previously had two late-term miscarriages and a calf that died after 48 hours two years ago.

This time around Emara received progesterone supplements — a treatment apparently not tried on a giraffe before. Progesterone supplements are commonly provided to women, as well as domestic animals, with a history of miscarriage.

Wild giraffe populations have plummeted more than 40 per cent over the past 30 years because of habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting, according to the zoo.

Zoo to investigate cause of death

The zoo posted that it will perform a post-mortem exam to determine the animal's cause of death.

A spokeswoman for the zoo said Saturday that the facility would not answer questions about the death until later, explaining that staff need to "come to terms" with the loss.

The spokeswoman said results of the necropsy would be shared with the public.

The zoo has had a number of high-profile animal deaths over the years, including a peacock killed by lions, seven penguins that drowned, and an otter that died after becoming tangled in a pair of pants.

With files from The Canadian Press

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