Giraffe Watch: World still waiting for birth of baby giraffe at New York petting zoo

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.

Saturday, April 8, The Keeper and Vet said there hadn’t been much change but said that’s a good thing!

All is well on the giraffe front! April keeps us waiting. Keeper and vet reports today have no remarkable change. Though this may seem redundant – it’s actually a good thing! Full udders, huge belly, mom ready – we just need the labor process to begin – so we are waiting for that final stage.

Temperatures will climb tomorrow and then we are off to a beautiful week!

Late Saturday, April 1, The Animal Adventure Park said it looked like an April Fool’s Day baby wasn’t the case, but we could see a new baby giraffe any time after midnight!

April continues to ignore her grain, zones in and out of awareness, exhibits soft contraction indications, and is even producing manure size and consistency hinting of a birth – though we are not yet in what we will call “active labor”. Our big girl is comfortable, confident, and continues to keep her composure – better than the rest of us!

However, as of Tuesday morning, we are still waiting for April.

“April has remained off grain again today, toys with her hay, turns up her nose at lettuce, but likes a DR Tim Carrot Treat! Tonight will be another long night as we wait for April to decide just when is right!”

Over the weekend, the park’s vet posted the following information on their Facebook page.

So the timeline for my 24-48 hour prediction is rapidly coming to an end… not surprising is the fact that we still have no calf and we still don’t have a giraffe in Labor! Pretty much all of her clinical signs from a couple days ago are still true. She just isn’t quite ready to give the world what it wants.

To answer a few question I have seen on the web in various places: no, she isn’t late; no, she isn’t overdue; no, I’m not concerned she is “taking so long”, nor should you be. Yes she remains happy and comfortable (considering the circumstances). Yes, she will have this calf when she is good and ready. No, public outcry won’t change that. No, I cannot induce her, nor should we want to… (those are human constructs which don’t apply to large wild animals and only endanger the life of April and her calf )Yes, it will be awesome when the calf arrives. No, watching after April is not my only job. Yes, we have been watching her for a very long time… enjoy the <free> show people. Get more popcorn.

On Monday, March 20, April’s zookeepers reported that the calf has been moving and sticking out. A photo accompanied the update on the Animal Adventure Park’s Facebook page. In the photo, you can see a definite lump on April’s round side. “Keeper report is “holy smokes” baby is sticking out. It is very evident in visual observations that the calf is moving up and sticking out! All are happy with progress, we are not in labor at this time,” said the Facebook post.

On Tuesday, March 14, April’s zookeepers reported that the baby was very active. A blizzard brought a lot of snow to the Harpursville, NY area where the zoo is located.

On Sunday, March 12, zoo officials said there was significant movement from the baby in April’s belly.

On Monday, March 6, April’s belly appeared to be larger and she was stealing hay from her mate, Oliver.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28,  April and her mate Oliver got to spend time together outside. The park reports that there is not much change in April’s physical appearance. She is carrying the baby a bit higher and tighter.

On Monday, Feb. 27, the park said that April is not yet labor. April’s condition remains the same. Her baby continues to move and the baby’s kicks are noticeably obvious. April laid down for a while, which helps her get the calf get into a more comfortable position. April will likely get to go outside on Monday because temperatures are warming up a bit.

The park shared an adorable photo on Facebook that showed the first time that Oliver and April met, which was about 1 & 1/2 years ago.

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.”

READ MORE: The difference between labor in humans and giraffes

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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