Get ready to babytalk at your computer screen. At least that’s what I’ve been doing ever since I opened up this email from the Cummings School for Veterinary Medicine at Tufts.
Meet a 2-day-old baby giraffe, now recuperating in the neo-natal unit:
Oh hello, you sweet, sweet thing.
Access to the baby, born to a giraffe at Southwicks Zoo in Mendon, has been restricted (see press release below).
Maybe there’s something wrong with her neck? It can’t be easy to birth a giraffe.
And yes, an animal that size really is two days old. Holy… um, giraffe.
Get well soon, little darling.
UPDATE! Tom Keppler at Tufts has kindly passed on this press release:
Baby Giraffe Receiving Care at Cummings School
Clinicians say three-day old female doing “quite well” in neonatal unit
North Grafton, Mass., February 26, 2009 – Faculty clinicians at the Hospital for Large Animals at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine report that a three-day-old reticulated giraffe in their care is in stable condition at the hospital’s neonatal unit.
Born at Southwick’s Zoo in nearby Mendon, Mass., the female giraffe, named Molly, was brought to the Cummings School after her mother did not produce milk. Veterinarians at the zoo were concerned that the calf did not receive vital antibodies from her mother’s colostrum, the “first milk” that prepares newborns for growth, proper functioning of organs, and immunity from disease. Representatives from the zoo provided her with cow colostrum-a common substitute for large animals who do not receive mothers’ milk-then brought her to the Cummings School’s Hospital for Large Animals for her neonatal care.
“Today, the giraffe is doing quite well,” said Dr. Daniela Bedenice, an assistant professor of Clinical Sciences at the school and the camelid expert in charge of the giraffe’s care. “Our students report that she’s been nursing well, and although she still has a potential for infection, she’s improved over the past day tremendously.”
Dr. Bedenice reported that the giraffe is being provided with intravenous fluids and glucose, as well as around-the-clock care. The calf weighs 86 pounds and stands more than 5 feet tall at three days old. Her mother, Mauzy, is doing quite well.
Southwick’s Zoo is currently closed for the season and will open full-time on April 11.
Indigenous to Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, reticulated giraffes are known for the spider web-like pattern on their coats. Giraffes are the tallest of all living land-based species.
Due to concerns about disease transmission, access to the giraffe has been restricted by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, which treats about 1,900 animals each year-mostly horses and alpacas-at its Hospital for Large Animals.