Columbus Zoo announces tragic death of 6-year-old giraffe Cami

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced the death of their 6-year-old Masai giraffe Cami on Saturday, Dec. 8.

According to a post on the zoo's Facebook page, Cami passed away four days after an emergency Cesarean section (otherwise known as a "C-section") delivery. Her newborn giraffe also passed away during labor.

Cami was monitored around the clock by the zoo's animal care team, but she collapsed around 1:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 and was unable to stand back up. The zoo's veterinary team immobilized the giraffe to review her health condition and provide her fluids. Sadly, she passed a short time later. Her initial blood work suggests an acute kidney failure, but a full autopsy will be performed.

According to a media release on the zoo's website, Cami went into labor around 3 p.m. on Dec. 4. As Cami's labor progressed, it became clear the calf was presenting her rear hooves first. The release notes that giraffe calves are typically born front hooves first, and it is extremely rare for calves to survive after being born rear hooves first.

The zoo says that Cesarean sections are extremely rare in giraffes, and they're typically conducted as a last resort during difficult deliveries. The C-section deliveries involve high risks, as the giraffes have to be put under anesthesia and recover successfully. There are only three known reports of a female giraffe surviving a C-section, and none of those operations have been performed in North America.

"We want to thank everyone for their support and concern during this difficult time for our time," the zoo said.

The results of Cami's blood work should come in about six weeks. You can learn more about Cami's life by clicking HERE.