What to Know
April the pregnant giraffe was a bit spooked by her active calf's kicking, but is healthy and happy, her keepers at a New York zoo say.
A photo shared by the zoo shows April's rotund belly curving out and downward, a sign that she's nearing the home stretch of her pregnancy.
April has captivated tens of millions of people across the world who have been checking in on her via the live stream
STATUS CHECK: An Omen? Keepers Find Baby Giraffe Imprint in April's Pen
Keepers at an upstate New York zoo say that April the pregnant giraffe was caught off guard by her active calf, but is still happy and healthy as ever.
They say she was a little "spooky" last night, likely because of her soon-to-be-born calf's extreme kicking. Keepers say they observed the intense kicking last night.
Watch the live stream below:
"April continues to be a very much pregnant giraffe!" the zoo wrote in its daily update on Facebook. "She was reported as being a little 'spooky' last evening, which was likely due to the many intense baby kicks observed by keepers."
A vet could be seen checking April on the livestream again Sunday night.
The mom-to-be still has a huge appetite and has grown significantly, visible in comparative photos from a week ago show. Wax caps are still present, though her back left teat appears to be shedding.
A photo posted to the zoo's facebook page Saturday showed April's rotund belly curving out and downward, a sign that she's nearing the home stretch of her pregnancy, says owner Jordan Patch.
"She's progressing well in her pregnancy," he said. "She's not in any pain, things are good."
The live feed experienced glitches yesterday, prompting hundreds of concerned emails from viewers about a late update posted to Facebook. Animal Adventure Park apologized, but asked followers to slow down on emails since keepers had to purge the inbox.
"We encourage our followers not to email us when the feed goes offline - trust us - we know - we are watching too!," the zoo said. "The mailbox must now be purged due to volume [sic] losing many education emails from schools that we do try to respond to!"
Nearly 56,000 people tuned in to watch the gentle giant Sunday morning as she peered over the dividing fence to catch a glimpse of her mate, Oliver, who paced around his pen. The long-necked lovers were seen interacting over his pen for a few moments.
April changed some of her behaviors overnight Friday; she choose new spots to stand and sleep and strayed off her usual naptime routine, the Animal Adventure Park said. Her caretaker, Alyssa, said that calf movements inside her belly are more visible with each day that passes, and added that the baby was particularly restless overnight Thursday.
The zoo said Friday 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 expectant mammal and her mate. 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. Patch 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.
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.