The first giraffe calf, born at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) in Visakhapatnam, unfortunately, passed away on Wednesday 10 July 2019. It had succumbed to a digestive disorder. The calf was born on Monday 24 June 2019. The baby giraffe was born to Beacon, the male, and May, the female, who were brought to the IGZP in 2012. The calf was an under-weight of 25 kgs, and five feet tall in height, at the time of birth. The average weight for such calves is 40 to 60 kgs.
The calf was abandoned by its mother at birth. Therefore had to be reared by the zoo management. At the Visakhapatnam Zoo, the same hand-rearing protocol, as used for giraffe calves in other zoos (India and abroad), was followed. The calf was being fed with cow colostrum, to increase immunity, and complete 24-hour care was being given by the caretakers.
However, the baby giraffe soon developed ‘lactose intolerance’, a critical condition for any wild mammalian infant. While interacting with Yo! Vizag, the IGZP Curator R.Yeshoda Bai shared that the giraffe was born underweight, thereby leading to further health issues.
Lactose- free milk was tried to the baby giraffe, but it couldn’t survive. The post mortem also revealed that the calf was a pre-term baby. It may not have survived in long-run or could have developed further health defects.