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Rare Baby Dama Gazelle Born At National Zoo Dies 13 Days After Birth

08/08/2012 04:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON -- Tuesday we learned that Nikki, the National Zoo's 20-year-old male Andean bear, had died after a year's struggle with cancer. Wednesday brought more sad animal news.

At the end of July, visitors to the National Zoo got more of a spectacle than anticipated when one of the zoo’s rare dama gazelles gave birth in an enclosure.

The Zoo sent around a very sad announcement on Wednesday that the baby gazelle has been euthanized:

The National Zoo humanely euthanized its 13-day-old Addra (dama) gazelle fawn Aug. 7. The fawn, a male, was born on exhibit in front of visitors. Cheetah Conservation Station keepers and Zoo veterinarians had been closely observing him since shortly after his birth July 25.

Last Friday, when keepers did not observe weight gain or consistent nursing, they began supplementing the fawn with milk. A veterinary examination performed at that time suggested that the fawn had an infection, and he was started on antibiotics and fluid therapy. Over the weekend, he gained weight and appeared to be responding to the antibiotics. However, on Tuesday morning he had lost significant weight, was very lethargic, and was having difficulty breathing. A final pathology report and additional testing will provide more information, but preliminary findings suggest a systemic bacterial infection.

The gazelle's mother, Adara, had been removed from the gazelle enclosure, to give her time to bond with her fawn. The Zoo says she's now re-joined the other female gazelles.

Dama gazelles are plagued by poachers in their native North Africa and are listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Authorities say fewer than 500 remain in the wild.

Here are photos of the gazelle's first moments:

It's a Boy! Baby Gazelle At National Zoo

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