Animal lovers tuning into the live footage of a giraffe giving birth instead saw her delivering a stillborn calf before the heartbroken creature collapsed and died hours later.
Nearly 2,000 viewers watched the live stream of the 11-year-old Rothschild’s giraffe, named Femke, go into labour in her enclosure at Magdeburg Zoo in the city of Magdeburg in the north-eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
However, the joyous occasion soon turned to tragedy when Femke gave birth to a stillborn calf and then collapsed and died several hours later.
The broadcast reportedly showed Femke looking down at her lifeless calf before pacing around the enclosure in distress.
Vets and zookeepers rushed to help the calf, but soon realised that it was already dead.
Zoo director Dr Kai Perret said: “At first we were very optimistic. The giraffe calf was in the right position, first one hoof and then the next hoof appeared. Thereafter, it was a rather slow birth.
“The final stage went very quickly, however the calf showed no signs of life. We managed to separate the mother and calf and tried to revive the newborn, sadly without success.”
However, there was to be further tragedy in the giraffe enclosure.
The zoo press office said: “Femke received medication to encourage the contractions. Until that time, she had rested and was in a stable condition.
Femke stood up at about 10.30pm, walked a few steps and then stumbled over and fell to the ground. The cause was circulatory collapse and the giraffe was immediately pronounced dead by zookeepers.
Shortly after the stillbirth, the online live stream was stopped. Three cameras had been monitoring the enclosure around the clock to catch the birth on camera.
Zoo director Perret said: “Births do not always take place without complications.
“We hoped that we would be able to welcome a healthy young animal and see it grow up, but in nature, as in life, there are things we cannot influence or predict.
“We did not get the success we had hoped for. We are now waiting for the vets’ autopsy results to find out what caused the unfortunate events. We are all very sad about the loss.”
It was not the first time that a giraffe died suddenly in the zoo, the father of the stillborn calf was reportedly found dead in his enclosure in September 2018.
Meanwhile, Femke’s mother ‘Fleuer’ was also put to sleep at the end of 2017 following circulatory failure.