Giraffe Watch: World still waiting for birth of baby giraffe

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.

April and her mate Oliver popped the latch on their stall door on Wednesday, March 22, but couldn’t get out–as the park says it has safeties in place.

As of Wednesday, April was “very moody and off from her normal self,” which the park says is a good sign as it continues to watch for her to give birth.

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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