‘Ray of Light in a Time of Darkness': Newborn Antelope Born During Tubbs Fire Dies

A newborn antelope, celebrated as a miracle due to his birth while the Tubbs Fire — from which he took his name — ravaged Santa Rosa, has died, according to the Safari West Wildlife Preserve.

Intestinal complications, not the blaze, caused Tubbs' death, according to Aphrodite Caserta, with Safari West. 

"Tubbs looked strong at the outset," Safari West said in a statement. "He was quick to his feet and seemed to thrive. As the keepers and veterinarians monitored him, however, he began to falter. He was taken into veterinary care, but ultimately passed."

The preserve named its newest Nile Lechwe — an aquatic antelope found only in a small area of eastern Africa — Tubbs, after one of the deadliest wildfires in California's history.

His arrival "provided us a much-needed ray of light in a time of darkness. We named him Tubbs, in tribute to the inferno that framed his birth, and to reclaim it from an undeserving disaster," Safari West said. 

Nile Lechwe are endangered so "every baby born is vitally important to the survival of the species," Safari West wrote on its website.

Although grieving the loss of the animal, Safari West in a news release expressed gratitude for the fact that Tubbs "visited us at all."

"Through light and darkness, ash and spring growth, life goes on. Today we mourn the loss of Tubbs, but we also celebrate the cycle of life that brought him to us," the statement said in part.

The devastating wildfires did not claim the lives of any other animals at Safari West, according to Caserta.

"Thankfully, we have not lost any animal due to the fire — all were saved and continue to be well," she said. "The support of the community, our friends, our guests, our families have been overwhelming! Our keepers come here every day and our animals are returning to their old routines while all around them our maintenance staff work to rebuild what was damaged."

The community has rallied around Safari West, even going so far as to start two GoFundMe campaigns.

People's donations will help Safari West staff who have lost their homes and been displaced by the devastating fires, according to Facebook. 

"This last week has been a changing point for all of us in the North Bay," Caserta said. "We have suffered much together but we will also recover together."

Contact Us