Emma the giraffe gives birth after an unexpected high-risk pregnancy

Around the Region

Courtesy: Dickerson Park Zoo

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- The Dickerson Park Zoo announced Tuesday morning that Emma the giraffe gave birth during the early morning hours.

Emma’s pregnancy came as a surprise for many zoo staff. Crews discovered she was pregnant when she was already 13 to 14 months pregnant.

Dickerson Park Zoo veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Zec told OzarksFirst earlier this month, since Emma had been on birth control while pregnant, it could affect the baby.

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 eight months into her pregnancy.”

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

Courtesy: Dickerson Park Zoo

“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 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.”

DPZ says the calf was discovered early Tuesday morning and is up and walking, and both mother and baby appear to be doing well. At this time, the animal care team will continue to observe from a distance and allow mother and baby time to bond.

“We are grateful for all the well wishes when it was announced Emma was expecting and the pregnancy was high risk,” said zoo spokeswoman Joey Powell. “We were hopeful she would be able to go into labor and deliver on her own. Seeing both mom and baby up and moving this morning made a rainy day brighter.”

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