A Masai giraffe calf died suddenly of unknown causes at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Saturday morning. The baby giraffe’s name was Ubumwe, which means “unity” in Kinyarwanda. Ubumwe was a female, and she was only 18 days old when she passed away at 8:30 a.m.
The Columbus Zoo posted information about the sad event on a series of Facebook posts, according to the Springfield News-Sun. Zoo officials wrote that the baby giraffe was thriving in her first two weeks and that she had been nursing well and seemed energetic. A week ago, Ubumwe weighed an estimated 130 pounds, they said.
A team of animal care professionals monitored the giraffe calf and her mother 24/7 since the birth. On Friday afternoon, things took a turn for the worse, however, and they said that Ubumwe’s “behavior and appearance began to change,” and that she started to experience “gastrointestinal discomfort.”
The zoo animal care professionals started giving the baby giraffe tests and started a treatment regimen in an attempt to make her better. They noted that Ubumwe was a little constipated, and her treatment consisted of administered fluids. She was given pain medication to help her with the gastrointestinal discomfort, and after the team finished examining Ubumwe, she began nursing from her mother, Zuri.
Zoo officials added that an ultrasound administered to Ubumwe showed an abnormality in her bowel. The zoo stated that they observed that the giraffe calf seemed to be “comfortable overnight.” Unfortunately, early Saturday morning, her health deteriorated quickly and she passed away,” they added.
Ubumwe’s cause of death won’t be known until a “necropsy (animal autopsy)” and pathology report are conducted. The zoo said that the results from them will not be available for several weeks.
People from around the world are captivated by the births of baby giraffes in zoos, and the Inquisitr covered the viral sensation and phenomenon that was April the Giraffe when she carried and gave birth to her baby, Tajiri. Over a million people watched in anticipation and counted down to the moment April the Giraffe gave birth on the Live Giraffe Cam feed streamed online by Animal Adventure Park.
In much the same way, many animal fans watched Ubumwe’s birth and the first weeks of her life via the online “Giraffe Cam” that was provided by National Geographic. Officials said that one of the Columbus Zoo’s other giraffe moms, Cami, is due to give birth to a baby giraffe soon.