The Santa Barbara Zoo has announced that Audrey, the zoo’s 14-year-old female Masai giraffe, lost her calf late during birth on July 27.
Audrey went into labor around 5:15 p.m. while outside in the giraffe habitat, and animal care staff brought her into the barn and prepared for delivery. She was in labor for six and a half hours with keepers and veterinary staff present, but it became clear that the calf 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, which zoo officials say is a “great sign of her continued health.”
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Audrey went through a similar situation in 2020, with her calf having to be euthanized less than 24 hours after birth due to health conditions. “In this case, there was nothing that could have been done to save the calf,” read the release from the zoo. “In fact, trying to intervene in the birth of such a large animal would pose an even bigger risk to Audrey.”
Zoo officials said Audrey would be back out in her habitat by Friday, July 28, since it is important for her to remain social and active.