Giraffe dies while giving birth at Houston Zoo

HOUSTON Zoo officials reported the death of Noel, a 15-year-old Masai giraffe and her calf during the delivery of her calf Monday morning. A necropsy, an animal autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death of Noel and her calf. Results of the necropsy may not be known for several weeks.

Noel began showing signs of labor at approximately 7am.

"Noel had been showing steady progress with the calf's head and one foot extending from the birth canal," said Houston Zoo Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Joe Flanagan. "But when we did not see the other foot emerge, we administered a mild sedative to calm Noel so that veterinarians and keepers could get closer and assist in the birth."

The calf emerged from the birth canal at approximately 9:30am with the assistance of the Houston Zoo's veterinary care team and keepers but was pronounced dead within a few minutes. Despite the determined efforts of the care team and keepers, Noel passed away at approximately 11:30am.

"We are all grieving and devastated by the loss of Noel and her calf," said Flanagan. "The Houston Zoo has never before lost a giraffe mother and calf during labor."

Noel is survived by two calves, Neema, born in August 2007 and Miles, born In January 2009.

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