One of the Singapore Zoo’s resident giraffes died while giving birth on Tuesday (5 February), despite the efforts of the zoo’s veterinarians to save her. The calf also died.
Lucy, a 14-year-old giraffe originally from The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Israel, was confirmed to be pregnant with her first calf in April 2018. A giraffe’s gestation is about 15 months, and Lucy had been expected to give birth in January.
However, a Facebook post by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) put up on Monday said, “Lucy went into labour over the weekend. We were hoping to share some joyful baby news, but things are not going smoothly for our first-time mum.
“Lucy’s care team, consisting of keepers and vets, are monitoring her around the clock and assisting her with medication to help her deliver.”
Sedating Lucy to extract foetus
On Tuesday evening, WRS put up another Facebook post saying that Lucy’s team of vets and zookeepers had decided to sedate her to extract the foetus as its chances of survival were near zero and the priority was to help Lucy recover. WRS also said that, in a giraffe, the extraction procedure is complex and fraught with risks.
However, at 8.34pm, another update on Lucy’s situation was posted: “During the process to extract the foetus from Lucy, she went into cardiac arrest and despite more than 10 minutes of attempting to resuscitate her, the effort was in vain. We bade farewell to her at 7pm today. Rest in peace Lucy. You will always remain in our hearts.
“For her keepers and the veterinary team who have been monitoring her progress in gestation for the past many months, and who have been on constant watch over her since the last 48 hours, it was a very bitter ending.
“All of us at WRS would like to show our appreciation and support for Lucy’s care team for their dedication, love and care they have provided to Lucy. Our hearts are with them during this hard time. We would also like to share our appreciation to all our online supporters for their love and well wishes.”
Came to Singapore in 2005
Lucy had made the 16-day voyage from Israel to Singapore in 2005 together with another female giraffe, Roni, who died in April 2017. They share their enclosure with two male giraffes: Marco, Lucy’s 14-year-old mate, and Jubilee, who was born in 2015 to Marco and Roni.
Last year, the zoo also lost another of its beloved animals, Inuka, Singapore’s last polar bear. The 27-year-old’s health deteriorated and he had to be put down on humane grounds.