The Nashville Zoo is mourning the unexpected loss of a newborn giraffe, whose birth was awaited by people around the world.
The zoo’s mother giraffe, Nasha, gave birth to a healthy calf on Saturday following a complicated delivery, KTLA’s sister station WKRN in Nashville reported. The delivery was broadcasted online through a live feed from the zoo.
But shortly after announcing the birth, zookeepers “noticed that the calf was in distress,” the Nashville Zoo said in a news release.
Shortly afterward, they announced the tragic news: The mother giraffe, Nasha, had stepped on the calf.
“We are heartbroken to announce that Nasha’s calf died shortly after our birth announcement earlier today after the calf was accidentally stepped on by her mother,” the zoo wrote.
Zookeepers said they had moved the newborn to be with her mother and that the two had been bonding.
“During this time, Nasha may have inadvertently injured her calf,” the zoo wrote.
The animal care team intervened once again but was unsuccessful in saving the calf’s life, the zoo said.
“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,” the zoo wrote.
Rick Schwartz, president and CEO of Nashville Zoo, wrote in a statement that the team is “devastated over the loss of Nasha’s calf.”
“Our staff has worked tirelessly to make sure this calf was given the best possible care,” Schwartz said. “We moved from fear of a stillborn to joy of revival to anguish.”
Thousands of people followed Nasha’s pregnancy online via “Baby Giraffe Cam” installed by KTLA’s sister station WKRN in Nashville. The Nashville Zoo also included live cameras on their “Baby Boom” webpage.
Zoo officials said the first-time mother Nasha is doing well and that the giraffe keepers will be giving her lots of comfort and care over the next few days.