A giraffe born at Copenhagen Zoo last Thursday died on Easter Sunday. According to the zoo’s Facebook page, zoo employees and veterinarians observing the calf said that it laid down on Sunday without eating and that the cause of death has not yet been determined. An autopsy revealed no signs of infection or heart problems. Zoo veterinarians have sent tissue samples for further study. Those results are expected back in about a fortnight.
“All we know right now is that the animal has died,” Zoo director Bengt Holst told Ekstra Bladet newspaper. “We have not found any physical damage or other abnormalities.”
Holst said that it is not unusual for young animals to die shortly after birth. He pointed out that the mortality rate of newborn animals in nature is about 50 percent.
“Mortality in animals will always be greatest just at birth,” said Holst.” The animals are weakest just after being born and leave the protection their mother's womb; there are many things that can go wrong.”
No link with Marius
The giraffes at Copenhagen Zoo have been under intense international scrutiny since February after the giraffe Marius was euthanised and publicly dissected after being deemed genetically unfit for an international breeding program.
Holst said that the deaths of the two giraffes were completely unrelated.
“I have no idea how one could logically link the two things together,” he said. “Biology has intervened here. Some animals are simply born healthier than others.”