Newborn Cow-Milk-Fed Giraffe Calfs Health In Jeopardy After Mother Refuses To Feed It

The health of this adorable giraffe calf that was born at the Vienna Zoo a week ago is in jeopardy because its mother continues to refuse to nurse it, leaving zookeepers with no choice but to feed it cow’s milk instead.

The baby giraffe was born to mother Fleur and father Obi at Schoenbrunn Zoo in the Austrian capital Vienna on Sunday, 23rd January.

The female giraffe has since been reluctant to let her newborn suckle and has kept it at a distance due to her inexperience as a mother.

Giraffe mum Fleur with her newborn cub at the Vienna Zoo in Austria. (Tiergarten Schonbrunn/Newsflash)

The head of the zoological department, Eveline Dungl, said: “For Fleur, it is the first offspring. Unfortunately, inexperienced mothers often find themselves overwhelmed with rearing in the wild. Especially with first-time mothers, there is never a guarantee that everything will go well from the start.”

However, according to Dungl, despite the ongoing challenges faced by the nursing team that feeds the newborn giraffe with pasteurised Holstein Friesian cow’s milk, the mother appears much more relaxed now, one week later.

The zoo reported that the milk, which they obtain from an Austrian farmer from the town of Laab im Walde, has a similar composition to that of a giraffe.

Giraffe mum Fleur with her newborn cub at the Vienna Zoo in Austria. (Tiergarten Schonbrunn/Newsflash)

Dungl said: “We can observe interactions such as the young animal gently licking its mother, but Fleur does not nurse her offspring. We feed it, and fortunately that works very well now. Nevertheless, the young animal’s condition is not yet completely stable.”

In addition, zoo vets perform body temperature and weight checks regularly, as the condition of the young one needs to be closely monitored.

The head vet, unnamed, at the Schoenbrunn Zoo said: “In addition to standard examinations, attention must now be paid to whether the offspring can tolerate the cow’s milk. At the moment, we as the vet team see our main task as advising the keepers on the composition of the milk, the intervals between feedings and monitoring the developmental stages of the young animal.”

The newly born giraffe cub with its mother Fleur at the Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo in Austria’s capital Vienna on 26th January 2022. (Tiergarten Schonbrunn/Newsflash)

As maintaining the peace and quiet is currently a priority, the giraffe park will remain closed for the time being.

The zoo said: “It is important now to give the young, inexperienced herd plenty of rest and time. They should get used to the new situation and be able to absorb this experience together. Therefore, the giraffe park will remain closed until further notice.”

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