PICS | 'He's lucky to be alive': Meet Marvin, the abandoned giraffe, fighting to get on his feet

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Meet Marvin the baby giraffe who survived premature birth on his own.
Meet Marvin the baby giraffe who survived premature birth on his own.
  • A suspected prematurely born giraffe was discovered in the veld at Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve in the North West on Saturday morning. 
  • It's believed the giraffe, named Marvin, was born prematurely, or abandoned by his mother.
  • Marvin is currently being tube fed to avoid any risk of aspiration pneumonia. 

A suspected prematurely born baby giraffe was discovered by a group of people on an excursion at Harties Horse Trail Safaris at Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve in the North West on Saturday morning.

It's believed the giraffe is a day or two old.

The Owl Rescue Centre said they were alerted by the group and rushed through to assist as they knew that a baby left out in the veld without its mother would be, "... severely compromised. We suspect that he is either a premature baby or that his mom was a first-time mother - things probably went pear-shaped and he was abandoned," founder Danelle Murray told News24. 

"He had collapsed. We believe that he was abandoned at birth and hadn't received any colostrum from his mom. He was weak and dehydrated and his blood sugar levels were very low on admission." 

She said Marvin was rushed to a vet in Bryanston where he was stabilised with Ringer's solution and glucose drips.

Marvin the premature giraffe is on his way to recovery.

"Our veterinarians made arrangements to transfer him through to the wildlife division at Onderstepoort veterinary hospital where he is undergoing treatment until he is well enough to be left on his own," Murray said.

The baby giraffe stands 1.8m tall and weighs around 50 kilograms.  

ALSO READ | World’s wildlife more at risk than realised - study

She said Marvin managed to get a few litres of colostrum from a dairy farm in Cullinan as one of their cows had just calved.

It was a "lifesaver".

"Mammals produce colostrum, which is nutrient-rich, high in antibodies, and full of antioxidants to help build a newborn baby's immune system in the first two days after birth. We left the little boy in the capable hands of the night shift students and we're optimistically hopeful that he pulls through," she said.

Marvin the giraffe is recovering well.
A staff member assisting Marvin the giraffe.

"He was given lactated Ringer's fluid and glucose to restore hydration and glucose levels in his body. He also received a plasma transfusion to aid in his restoration and recovery. Marvin will receive another plasma transfusion on Sunday as he is too weak to suckle.”

Marvin is currently being tube fed to avoid any risk of aspiration pneumonia. 

"Once he is strong enough, he will be bottle-fed and rehabilitated for release. He still has a very long road ahead of him. He is extremely lucky to still be alive. We believe he will make strong recovery," Murray said.

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