June 30, 2016 3:34 pm

San Diego giraffe delivers stillborn calf en route to Calgary Zoo

File: Calgary Zoo.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
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A giraffe from the San Diego Zoo who’d been matched for breeding with the Calgary Zoo herd delivered a stillborn calf on the way to Alberta, officials said Thursday.

“Transporting animals is a delicate process and we take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals during their journey,” Calgary Zoo director of animal care Jamie Dorgan said in a statement.

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The five-year-old Masai giraffe left the San Diego Zoo Monday, and was under “continuous observation” throughout the trip. Officials said after the still birth, the mother giraffe was “assessed by a zoo veterinarian at which point the animal was cleared to continue on.”

She arrived in Calgary late Wednesday night.

The giraffe had been seen breeding by San Diego officials a few months before the move. While she didn’t appear pregnant, Calgary Zoo staff were told of the possibility of a mid-term pregnancy. Both zoos agreed it was safe for her to make the trip to Canada.

The Calgary Zoo said it was very difficult news for animal care staff, and emphasized giraffe populations are declining due to habitat loss and poaching in the wild.

Officials didn’t immediately have additional information on how many premature giraffes are born under the care of zoos each year or how many similar incidents occur in transit.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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