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'Surprise' Giraffe Dies After Surgery At Santa Barbara Zoo

SANTA BARBARA (AP) — A giraffe calf whose birth at the Santa Barbara Zoo surprised staffers who did not know his mother was pregnant has died after a dental procedure.

Zoo officials said Tuesday that the 19-month-old Masai giraffe named Daniel went into respiratory arrest and died after the surgery to treat an abscess and infection in his lower jaw.

Anesthesia is difficult and dangerous for giraffes and may have contributed to the death, but zoo officials said the procedure was their best remaining option. A state lab will perform a necropsy.

Daniel's mother Audrey arrived at the zoo in March 2010 at an age much younger than giraffes usually get pregnant, and her weight gain was just attributed to normal growth.

The calf's birth in January 2011 shocked zookeepers and made national news.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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