Pregnant giraffe at Calgary Zoo first ever on progesterone supplements

Sep 26 2019, 1:29 pm

The Calgary Zoo could be getting a new resident come October.

Emara, and eight-year-old giraffe, is pregnant at the zoo, though pregnancy challenges she’s faced in the past are putting zookeepers on high alert.

Throughout the recent years, Emara has had two late-term miscarriages as well as a calf that was born ill who died within 48 hours, a release from the Calgary Zoo states.

“Pregnancy issues in giraffes are rare, so we have been working with specialists and zoos across North America to help Emara successfully become a mom this time,” said Dr Doug Whiteside, the senior staff veterinarian for the Calgary Zoo, in the release.

To help Emara along with her most recent pregnancy, the Zoo has decided to put her on progesterone supplements after it was discovered that her progesterone levels had been declining as her past pregnancy progressed.

According to the Calgary Zoo, this is the first time the supplements have been used in an attempt to help a pregnant giraffe, though it is sometimes used in humans and domestic animals, and was once used successfully on a rhino.

giraffe

The Calgary Zoo

Emara is expected to give birth in mid-October, and the zookeepers are doing what they can to maintain a stress-free environment, ensure she is being fed enough calories to produce milk, and preparing the habitat for the eventual delivery of the newborn calf.

According to the release, Masai giraffes such as Emara are classified as endangered, as wild giraffe populations have gone down by over 40% over the past 30 years as a result of illegal hunting, civil unrest, and habitat loss.

“As populations decline in wild, accredited zoos like the Calgary Zoo, possess unique genetic diversity that sustains healthy managed populations as a result of Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding recommendations,” the release states.

“Animals kept in human care, such as the ones loved and cared for by the Calgary Zoo team, have the potential to re-introduce genetic diversity back into the wild in the future.”