The baby giraffe, so anxiously awaited by people around the world, died shortly after birth Jan. 16 after he was stepped on by her mother.

Nashville Zoo's pregnant giraffe, Nasha, went into labor under the watchful eyes of thousands of people tuning in through an online live feed of the event. Shortly into labor, complications developed.

Nasha was not progressing appropriately with her delivery, and medical intervention was required. With the help of Dr. Matthew DeLisle from Tennessee Equine Hospital, the zoo's veterinary team was able to successfully deliver the calf.

"The calf appeared to be thriving on an initial exam, said Dr. Heather Schwartz, Nashville Zoo's director of veterinary medicine. "We moved the newborn to be with her mother, and the two were bonding. During this time, Nasha may have inadvertently injured her calf. The giraffe keepers noticed that the calf was in distress."

The animal care team once again intervened but was unsuccessful at saving the calf. An initial necropsy showed trauma to the neck but further testing will follow to determine if there were any underlying causes for the newborn's death.

"We are devastated over the loss of Nasha's calf," said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo's president and CEO. "Our staff has worked tirelessly to make sure this calf was given the best possible care. We moved from fear of a stillborn to joy of revival to anguish."

Nasha's pregnancy was followed online by thousands of people around the world thanks to three cameras installed by local television station WKRN. The station's news programs frequently updated viewers on the status of Nasha's pregnancy and encouraged people to watch the baby giraffe cam through its website. Nashville Zoo also included the live cameras on its baby boom webpage.

This was Nasha's first birth. She is doing well, and the giraffe keepers plan to give her an abundance of comfort and care.

Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. The zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs and education initiatives around the globe, as well as in its own backyard. The zoo is considered one of the top attractions in Nashville and is consistently voted one of the best places to visit by TripAdvisor, Yelp and a host of local and national review sites. Nashville Zoo is at 3777 Nolensville Pike. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit nashvillezoo.org.

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