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Cortland/Ithaca

Zoo staff make a special delivery

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Zoo staff make a special delivery
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As the saying goes, there's a first time for everything. Those words rang true for staff at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on Friday. First responders had an initial call about a woman in labor. But as our Iris St. Meran explains, within minutes they found themselves welcoming a baby girl into the world.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's not unusual to see babies at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. In fact, over the past year there have been baby turtles, wolves, and even a fox. Friday morning, staff were surprised by another baby.

"We got a first responder call come over the radio that a woman was in labor. Labor was taking place on the wildlife trail up the path from where I was," said Zoo Education Coordinator Liz Schmidt.

That woman was with a group of people walking on the wildlife trail, heading to the bear exhibit. Schmidt was the first on the scene to tend to her. 911 was called, EMTs were en route, but first responders had to act quickly.

"I was actually telling the gentleman, who was on the phone with 911, 'I can see the head, the head is crowning,'" Schmidt recalled.

Education Outreach Animal Keeper Sarah Kohler said, "Just kind of went over and helped Liz deliver the baby and made sure the mom was okay. Our first priority was to keep the baby nice and warm since it was cold outside and to make sure the baby was breathing and we just went from there."

EMTs were there within seconds of the baby girl being born. They say the whole ordeal was less than 10 minutes. Mom and daughter were then taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Every year, the staff has to go through emergency training through the Red Cross. They credit that training for Friday's successful delivery.

"We get calls all the time, sometimes on a daily basis in the summer,” Schmidt added. “It could be a broken leg, it could be someone's dehydrated, it could someone's in labor. The training really comes in handy."

Zoo Director Ted Fox said, "This was certainly an unplanned one for us today. Nonetheless, very, very exciting. I'm so proud of the staff."

Although this was a first, staff proved they can weather any emergency situation involving their beloved animals or even visitors. They're hoping their newest visitor will come back soon.

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