Hey what's your opinion on what's going on at the Ohio's Columbus Zoo and the death of 3 giraffes?
It’s really awful luck, and they did everything they should have in each situation. There were actually four giraffes lost there in 2018.
The first two giraffes that died were calves, one in September and one in November. The first was two months old and lived at the off-site conservation facility The Wilds, and was simply found dead one morning. He’d been observed nursing normally the day before and there were no indications anything had been wrong. The second was a calf living at the zoo who died after a really sudden decline that appeared to be related to some sort of gastric distress: they did a ton of diagnostics and gave her really intensive care with round-the-clock overnight treatment, but it wasn’t enough to save her. I don’t believe necropsy results have been released yet for either calf - it takes a while to get results back from labs, so in the case of the November calf, the investigation might be complete yet. Both of those deaths are heartbreaking because babies, but it’s important to also keep in mind that babies die pretty regularly in the wild no matter what species you’re talking about. American zoos have an annual mortality rate for giraffes in zoos that’s half what it is for wild giraffes, so it’s obvious that they’re doing a lot to protect and care for the babies born in human care. Sometimes things just happen, and sometimes diagnostics and treatment just can’t happen fast enough to be successful when you’re dealing with juvenile animals.
The most recent giraffe death was due to an attempted medical intervention in an emergency. An adult female was in labor with her calf the wrong way around, a condition which is not only dangerous for the baby but often for the mothers as well. Zoo staff tried to manually re-position the baby to no avail, and they decided to do a C-section. The comment I’ve seen in the media is that they thought this posed the best chance of saving both mother and baby, which implies that they weren’t sure the mother would survive the birth, no matter what happened to the calf. C-sections are very rare to do on giraffe because anesthetizing ruminants is risky (they’re likely to inhale their cud because regurgitating it is reflexive, but they can’t swallow when unconscious) and because they don’t tend to recover well. There are three known instances of a giraffe surviving a C-section worldwide. It turned out the calf had congenital deformities bad enough it wouldn’t have survived no matter what, and unfortunately, the mother collapsed shortly thereafter and couldn’t get back up. It’s awful. The vet team had to make a really hard call: leave the giraffe in a situation where one or both would probably die without intervention, or do something radical on the chance it could save one or maybe both of them. In that sort of situation, unless there are major welfare implications, zoos will choose to take the extreme action to try to save a life rather than letting nature take it’s course. The situation was stacked against them in ways they couldn’t have known about, but they did the absolute best they could.
This is the hardest part about working with animals. Sometimes things go wrong and there’s absolutely nothing that can be done to predict, prevent, or fix it. The Columbus Zoo has gone to heroic efforts to try to save their giraffes and they just were in situations where there wasn’t anything they could do. Those deaths aren’t their fault.
For the first time, cheetah cubs were born by IVF 🧡
The cubs were born from in vitro fertilization to a surrogate cheetah mother in an effort to save the species. There are only 7,000 cheetahs left in the wild, where only 5 percent of cubs survive. See the latest from Nightly News.
Photo credit: Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Here is a video from the Columbus Zoo’s YouTube channel that documents the first week of their newborn adorable baby packy! A keeper explains what her first few days were like, & also explains how her mother, Phoebe, introduced the baby to fellow herd members Rudy & Sunny, in hopes that they have babies in the future. I’m just so happy a new baby packy was born this month!
[Image descriptions: Top: A sea turtle facing the camera, surrounded by blue water. Its head is turned to one side so one eye is visible. Bottom: A large tortoise. Its body and shell point to the left in the photo, but its head is turned to face the camera.]
Playing with capybaras is definitely one of the coolest animal experiences I’ve ever had. These youngsters were extremely inquisitive and gentle. They are only 15-20 pounds now, but will grow up to 150 lbs or even more.
Experienced this with my wife @ferventvervet at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
For the first time, a pair of cheetah cubs were born after an in vitro fertilization procedure to a surrogate cheetah, with help from scientists at the National Zoo.
Zoo officials said the cubs were born on Feb. 19 at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio to 3-year-old Izzy. The cubs’ biological mother is 6½-year-old Kibibi.
Experts at the National Zoo in Washington said in a statement that “cheetahs naturally have low genetic diversity due to a near extinction at the end of the last ice age.” For about 20 years, scientists have been trying to boost the cheetah population through IVF and embryo transfers.
Officials said the embryo transfer was done by scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., and the Columbus Zoo. The zoo waited until Monday to announce the births due to the high infant mortality rate in cheetahs — about 25 percent. The next step will be to figure out what to name the cubs.