Worldwide animal sensation April the pregnant giraffe is “growing” even more and her keepers can feel the baby moving in her belly, the upstate New York zoo said in its daily update as millions of fans wait on edge for the delivery.
April changed some of her behaviors overnight; she's choosing new spots to stand and sleep and going off her usual naptime routine, the Animal Adventure Park said in a Facebook post Friday.
"Why? Could be many reasons," the Facebook post said. "Continued increase in belly movements. Keeper reports this morning suggest all observed physical signs remain unchanged and on the positive."
The Harpursville zoo tantalized fans Thursday night, posting with excitement, "April is – without question – growing!” The zoo said keepers were able to “get hands on the belly” and “make contact” with April’s baby giraffe.
The zoo also said April appears “a little more on edge” and is “not being as lovely as usual.”
Cold weather could shake things up for the expecting giraffe, the zoo said. But snow and ice mean no outside time for the long-necked beauty and her mate, Oliver, on Friday. That means more enrichment activities, training sessions and extra attention from the team, the zoo said.
April has captivated tens of millions of people across the world who have been checking in on her via the live stream in anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf. More than 80,000 people were tuned in to the stream before 9 a.m. Friday. The graceful giraffe appeared calm and collected as she peered into Oliver's pen. Watch the live stream above.
April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines last week after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's live 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.
Giraffe pregnancies last for 15 months. Labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Once April goes into active labor, zookeepers will go in to help her the rest of the way. The calf 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.