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
Switching things up might do everyone some good — including April the giraffe.
So Animal Adventure Park, the upstate New York zoo live-streaming the long-neck beauty's pregnancy, took to Facebook Live to answers many questions that were asked by April's adoring fans all around the globe.
It appeared one of the many questions asked was the one that many have wondered for a while: When will April give birth and is she overdue?
The zoo's response was simple.
"Remember in a pregnancy with a giraffe you can go 13 months, 14, 15, 16 months long," a keeper said. "So there's a lot of guessing involved and that's why nobody can pinpoint it."
The zoo's previous predictions that have been long thrown out the window were based on October 2015 mating behavior.
"In nature you don't always conceive every time you connect, which is the case here," the zoo said. "Realistically they probably did conceive and connect sometime in December. That would be much more normal and puts us in the time frame we are in now."
Speaking of new babies, the zoo did have one Thursday — it just wasn't a calf.
The zoo 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.
7 Events That Happened While Waiting for April the Giraffe to Give Birth
As for anything new to report with our stripped friend April, the zoo says not much.
"Not much to say," the zoo said. "April is doing great with light discharge. Appetite is so so."
Nothing we haven't heard before.
She was acting kind of strange Thursday morning, however, Animal Adventure Park said in its 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, and the zoo has continued to note significant movement.
The zoo keeps reminding everyone to keep watching because we will all be able to enjoy new life soon enough.
"We tuned you guys in with a giraffe cam to enjoy the process, not to watch an immediate result," the keeper said on Facebook Live. "So just keep that in mind, enjoy what's happening and eventually we will all be rewarded with a pretty significant and miraculous thing to witness."
At around 3 a.m. Friday, April, belly as big as ever, stared down the camera apparently in an attempt to tell her fans around the world it isn't easy carrying around a 150-pound, 6-feet-tall creature all day, especially with nearly 80,000 people looking down.
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.
Three Baby Giraffes Born at Six Flags in New Jersey as Giraffe Pregnancy Captivates World
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.