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A baby gazelle that almost did not survive her first day is on the road to recovery, thanks to the quick action of zookeepers and veterinarians at the Oregon Zoo.

Pansy, a nine-year-old Speke’s gazelle gave birth to Juliet at the zoo on November 18.

Since Speke’s gazelles - the smallest of Africa’s numerous gazelle species - are endangered, each birth is considered an important step toward ensuring their long-term survival.

Zoo staff became concerned when keepers went to check on the mother and daughter the next morning, and Juliet felt cold to the touch.

Keepers also noticed Pansy displaying unusually aggressive behavior.

Juliet was quickly transferred to the intensive care unit of the zoo’s veterinary medical center.

“The rest of the day involved some heroic efforts on the part of our vet staff,” said zoo curator Amy Cutting. “It was touch and go for 36 hours or so while vet staff struggled to maintain her temperature and hydration.”

Once the calf had stabilized somewhat, zoo staff began regular bottle feedings.

Within two weeks, Juliet was able to move out of the vet center, and join Pansy and the other gazelles.

"With gazelles, it's not uncommon for first-time moms to struggle," said Laura Weiner, senior keeper in the zoo's Africa section. "The calf has had some trouble figuring out how to nurse, but otherwise, she's doing well. We've begun reintroducing her to her mom. We want her to live a normal gazelle life, and not be too bonded to humans."

Juliet is still being bottle-fed five times a day, and is closely monitored by keepers. If all continues to go well, visitors should be able to see her in spring once the weather is a bit warmer.

Read more on this heartwarming story.

(Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo)

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