After Apparent Public Shunning, April the Giraffe's Vet Won't Offer More Labor Predictions - NBC New York

After Apparent Public Shunning, April the Giraffe's Vet Won't Offer More Labor Predictions

Tens of millions of people across the globe have tuned into the live stream in anticipation of the birth of April's fourth calf

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    NEWSLETTERS

    What to Know

    • April has captivated tens of millions of people across the world who have been checking in on her via the live stream

    • Giraffe pregnancies last up to 15 months; labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days

    • The calf will be the first born at Animal Adventure Park, and the zoo says it will hold a contest to name it once it arrives

    Dr. Tim, the veterinarian caring for the world-famous giraffe April, seems to have had enough of the hullabaloo surrounding her fourth pregnancy.

    After tantalizing April's tens of millions of fans around the world by estimating April, of the Animal Adventure Park in upstate New York, would go into labor Friday -- or Saturday -- or at least Sunday -- and being wrong, Dr. Tim is done making public projections.  

    "You all know how much I love to be wrong about my predictions, but such is life. I'll keep all posted and will let you know when the baby is on its way," Dr. Tim wrote in the zoo's latest Facebook update. "It really shouldn't be much longer, I'm just not going to tell you my guesstimate anymore."

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    But there's no reason to be worried, he said.

    "No, she isn't late; no, she isn't overdue; no, I'm not concerned she is 'taking so long,' nor should you be," Dr. Tim wrote. "Pretty much all of her clinical signs from a couple days ago are still true." 

    "She just isn't quite ready to give the world what it wants," he said. 

    And thus, we will continue to wait. 

    More than 130,000 people were doing just that before 8 a.m. Monday, watching as April lifted up her long neck to face the camera, flicking first one ear, then the other before shaking her head as if to say, "Are you people serious?" 

    Watch the live stream below.

    When April goes into active labor, the baby's front hoofs will be the first to come out, followed by the snout, the zoo says.

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    Mom will naturally raise the calf on her own, and weaning could take between six to 10 months, maybe even longer -- the zoo says it won't rush the process. Once weaning is over, the baby giraffe will move on to another facility to start a breeding program there.

    "We cannot retain offspring, as it would lead to incestuous mating and undermine the genetics of the program and species," the zoo says.

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    This is 15-year-old April's fourth calf. It'll be the first for Oliver. He won't take any part in rearing the calf, though. Male giraffes, called bulls, really only care about two things, the zoo says: "fighting and the unmentionable."

    "He is a bull -- and a bull is a bull is a bull!" the zoo says.

     

    April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines late last month after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of commenters voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so.

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    Jordan Patch, owner of the Animal Adventure Park, says the natural curiosity surrounding giraffes and their birthing process has been a huge factor in drawing crowds.

    "I think the fact that she's a giraffe and she's a neat species that people are interested in, that's fostered a lot of the attention," he said. "The fact that you're gonna get to witness the miracle of birth from an animal that you really don't get to see give birth — that's neat."

    He added that April's pregnancy is not just live entertainment, but a teachable moment and source for education. This is the zoo's first giraffe calf.

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    Giraffe pregnancies last up to 15 months. Labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The calf, which will be the first born at Animal Adventure Park, will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour.

    The zoo said it will hold an online competition to name the baby giraffe once it's born.

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