Unexpected pregnancy causing concerns for one giraffe at the Dickerson Park Zoo

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An unexpected pregnancy is causing some stress at the Dickerson Park Zoo.

A giraffe was just discovered to be 13-to-14 months pregnant, but this discovery is so late, it can mean some trouble for the baby giraffe.

The giraffe’s name is Emma and OzarksFirst was actually there at her birth 16 years ago. Emma was born in 2005 and is now taking on the task of pregnancy herself.

The Dickerson Park Zoo veterinarian said since Emma had been on birth control while pregnant, it could affect the baby.

“We didn’t expect this at all. It took us by complete surprise,” said Dr. Stephanie Zec, zoo veterinarian, “so we had an animal that we didn’t think had any breeding, and was on birth control.”

Dr. Zec said they don’t know how far along she is exactly, but, “I would think of her as like a woman who’s 8 months into her pregnancy.”

“Things happen,” said head keeper Tracy Campbell. 

He seems Emma on a daily basis.

“Her mom was the matriarch, but she’s getting really old, so she’s kind of taken over. She’s got a little attitude, she’ll let you know if she doesn’t like something,” said Campbell.

And people love her. However, since Emma’s pregnancy was discovered so late, she was still on birth control this whole time.

“There are certain potential negative side effects of that birth control. She could have a random miscarriage of the baby. The baby could have birth defects,” said Dr. Zec, “if the baby is past term, it can die in there. If we were to anesthetize her, potentially this could be a scenario where we lose both baby and mom. There are all these complications we really really hope don’t happen. Our fingers are crossed for this animal, this is not what we had planned, we did everything we can to prevent this situation, except these two, he’s the one responsible, had other ideas.”

Emma is expected to give birth in the next few weeks. OzarksFirst will follow up and see how Emma and the baby are doing.

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