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
Another new baby has been born at the Animal Adventure Park in upstate New York; it's just not a calf.
The zoo, home to the now world-famous pregnant giraffe named April, announced the birth of a muntjac deer fawn Thursday morning. The tiny deer are the oldest known deer species, thought to have first emerged up to 30 million or so years ago, based on remains found in deposits abroad.
As for April, the 15-year-old long-necked beauty captivating the world for more than a month now via live stream as we await the birth of her fourth calf, she is still pregnant.
7 Events That Happened While Waiting for April the Giraffe to Give Birth
She's acting kind of strange though, the zoo said in its Thursday morning Facebook update. Keepers described April as "out of it," Thursday, noting "distracted behavior versus her normal inquisitive, treat-begging self."
Her belly remains a big bulge though (you try carrying around a 150-pound, 6-feet-tall creature in yours), and the zoo noted significant movement Wednesday during staff observation periods.
The zoo tells us to keep watching, and we are -- along with everyone else.
About 145,000 people were tuned into the live stream shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday as April stretched her long neck to a sun-lit window, munching on a snack and flicking her ears every so often. She turned to look directly at the camera as she unabashedly finished chomping what was in her mouth.
Watch the live stream below.
Once April goes into labor, the baby's front hoofs will be the first to come out, followed by the snout, the zoo says.
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.
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.
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.