Staff at the Rosamund Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, didn't expect they would be delivering a human baby when they came to work on Friday, December 7.
A 21-year-old customer visiting the premises along with 5-7 friends went into labor, and her contractions became closer apart. By the time the ambulance arrived at the scene, she had already given birth.
“I honestly didn’t expect her to deliver at the zoo,” Zoo Education Coordinator Liz Schmidt says.
“I thought we’d pop her in a wheelchair and she’d be good to go to the hospital,” she explains.
According to the Syracyuse Post-Standard, she received the call about a pregnant woman going into labor while she was teaching a class at the reindeer exhibit, at 11 a.m. The customer was on the wildlife path, and Schmidt immediately asked another member of the zoo staff to bring blankets.
Zookeeper Sarah Kohler, who responded to the radio message, describes that it was all over in a matter of instants.
“As I came on the scene, the baby was pretty much on its way out,” she says.
A little girl was born, and they made sure she was breathing properly, and covered her up in blankets.
“Our main concern was to keep the mom and baby warm,” Kohler explains.
The mother and the daughter were transported to Crouse Hospital as EMTs arrived, but medical personnel were not able to disclose their condition. The Zoo management team plans to send animal-related gifts to the new mother.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Hopefully the baby and mom are doing well,” Director Ted Fox tells the family.
“It’s certainly been a bumper crop at the zoo for babies. [...] It’s following suit with the human species,” he adds.