Giraffe Watch: Animal park continues to await arrival of baby giraffe

April is in the last stage of her pregnancy

(Credit: WCMH)

HARPURSVILLE, NY (WCMH) – A New York petting zoo is sharing the joy as they are expecting a baby giraffe to be born.

The Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York is live-streaming as their 15-year-old giraffe, April and her mate, Oliver welcome their baby. The livestream has gained international attention, with several hashtags trending such as #AprilsViewCrew, #TeamEgg and #GiraffeWatch.

Jordan Patch, the owner of the park told Spectrum News that April is in the last stage of her pregnancy. Giraffes have a 15-month gestation period, and April’s tentative due date was mid-February, Patch said. But active labor could still be days away.

“Giraffes hide their signs as a natural instinct, that is why until we see hooves we will not announce active labor,” Patch told NBC4. “Process can take a few hours or a day or so — once hooves appear it will be 60 minutes before it’s out and on the ground. It’s a very natural process, and we can’t put timelines on that.”

As of Tuesday, the baby had yet to be born. The park posted this update on its Facebook page:

April had a good night and is as large as ever. Keepers have documented an evening of her sides. The calf was generally carried on her left side, but all has become proportionate. Activity remains normal, behavior normal. Yard time will be granted this morning once temperatures rise to a safe level.

On Monday, the park posted the following update on its Facebook page:

April has us on our toes! then our heels, then our toes, then our heels! Major changes have been noticed in her back end, but from hour to hour we are see a different state. Our photo documentation looks very out of order, but its not. You will notice her belly is looking nice and tight – perhaps a bit raised. Major baby kicks continue. Appetite was strong this evening at PM feed, but touched little hay in the afternoon. The vet reported she was very needy during his exam.

On Sunday, the park posted the following:

Keeper’s report is all is well in the barn. April is eating breakfast this morning and body condition remains as day prior. Continued movement of baby inside, and big baby kicks, are noticeably obvious. Through the evening April had to find her right positioning to feel comfortable to lay down, which is evidence of continued growth and position change of the calf. Do not be concerned, it is natural and worked out by mom on her own.

Today will yield warmer temperatures from yesterday’s flash freeze, allowing a little bit of yard time for mom, and of course time for Oliver.

Still no baby, we have not announced active labor, mom and baby are happy and healthy.

Please remember – we will not announce active labor until calf hooves are visible. Naturally, giraffes hide signs of labor – as to not alert every predator around, that they and a new calf will be vulnerable to attack. However, once we are final stages of the labor – the process is quick. Visible hooves- to – calf on the ground, can be as short as 30 minutes!”

When the baby is born it will likely stand around six feet tall and weigh around 150 pounds.

The mother and father are still getting to enjoy yard time, but the park is now keeping them separated due to April’s condition.

“His rambunctious play for an extended period could have negative effects. Boys will be boys,” the park said.

On Wednesday, Feb 22, the park says animal rights activists convinced YouTube to pull the live feed “for violating YouTube’s policy on nudity or sexual content.” The park then issued the following statement on its Facebook page.

Just after 9:00am Thursday morning on February 23, the feed was back up on YouTube after an appeal.

According to CNBC, giraffe populations have been rapidly decimated across Africa and the species is threatened with extinction.

Giraffes were moved from Least Concern list to the Vulnerable list by the IUCN due to a dramatic 36-40% decline from approximately 151,702-163,452 individuals in 1985 to 97,562 in 2015.

The group cited Illegal hunting, habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest as reasons pushing the species towards extinction. Of the nine subspecies of giraffe, three have increasing populations, whilst five have decreasing populations and one is stable, according to the IUCN.

Patch told Spectrum News that he believes the giraffe born at the Animal Adventure Park will be important for the continued viability of the species.

Facts about the giraffes shared by the Adventure Animal Park:

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