Giraffe calf dies at zoo

Kali, a 4-month-old giraffe calf born at Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo in October died unexpectedly earlier this month.

According to a release, Kali had not exhibited any signs of illness and nothing seemed amiss when the zookeepers completed their shift on Feb. 9. Upon their return to the Giraffe Barn the morning of Feb. 10, the staff discovered that Kali had died during the night.

“We are absolutely heartbroken as we share this news. It is devastating for all the staff and especially for those who have cared for her so attentively since her birth in early October,” Zoo New England President and CEO John Linehan said in that release. “At this time, we do not know the cause of death and are awaiting test results.”

Zoo New England Director of Veterinary Services Eric Baitchman, and Zoo New England Associate Veterinarian Susie Bartlett conducted the necropsy that same day. The procedure did not reveal an obvious cause of death, nor any signs of trauma or injury. Tissue samples were sent out for testing and results are not be available.

Test results were not available by the Gazette’s deadline.

Because giraffes are more temperature-sensitive than other savannah animals, they are kept inside the Giraffe Barn when it is too cold for them to be outside. There have not been any issues with the heating inside of the Giraffe Barn.

Kali’s Oct. 2 birth was the result of breeding between Zoo New England’s Masai giraffes, Beau and Jana. Zoo New England is an active participant in the Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species.

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