18-day-old giraffe suddenly dies at Ohio zoo

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Zoo officials said in a series of Facebook posts that Ubumwe had been energetic and nursing well in her first two weeks, weighing an estimated 130 pounds a week ago. But she began experiencing “gastrointestinal discomfort” Friday afternoon, leading to multiple tests and treatment.

An ultrasound showed an abnormality of the bowel, but after receiving intensive care from the zoo’s animal care professionals, Ubumwe appeared comfortable overnight, according to the zoo’s statement.

But early Saturday morning, the Masai giraffe calf deteriorated rapidly, and she soon passed away. Zoo officials said the cause of death is unknown, pending an autopsy and a pathology report that will take several weeks.

Thousands of people followed Ubumwe’s birth and first weeks, watching via the online “Giraffe Cam” through National Geographic. One of the zoo’s other giraffes, Cami, is expecting a calf soon.

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