It all began in February.
April the giraffe started making headlines when Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville announced that the pregnant animal is nearing her due date. What heightened the excitement was the live cam installed in the stable: Now, people across the world could watch April when she delivers her calf.
For those hooked on to the cam, it’s been a long, hard wait. Many have been losing sleep as well as their mind. Even the teeniest move made by April triggers a never-ending thread on social media.
— Jessica (@TheConvFeminist) March 23, 2017
On Facebook, April addicts from across the world have joined forces and are now a part of groups and fan pages that are keeping track of April.
For many, watching April is a breath of fresh air—a break from politics, an escape from reality, and an inspiration.
— Sweet Silly Sara (@Sweetsillysara) March 29, 2017
Kassie Story Kai, an artist who sells her wares on Etsy, says April the giraffe has been her brand influencer.
“Ever since I started watching the live feed a couple of days ago, I have been making needle felted giraffe out of wool. This sculpture is entire made out of fluff (wool roving),” she said, showcasing her adorable craftwork on Facebook.
“April’s been inspiring many of us I think,” said the artist, whose needle-felted version of April is now on sale at Etsy.
— #NATIVE (@hashnative) March 28, 2017
Kassie is not the only on Etsy selling April-inspired craft.
Kelly Bain from Pennsylvania too has her own Etsy page. There are about 18 artworks of giraffe — all inspired by April.
“Two years ago, I suffered a bad knee injury that put me out of work. This gave me time to get back into painting. Last year, I took part in art shows and made a few sales. In February, I happened to find a Facebook group called April the Giraffe. I was instantly hooked and was inspired to paint a giraffe. It was a hit and so many incredible people that I have encountered asked to buy a print! Two weeks and several prints and paintings later I started an Etsy page. I am steadily making sales as well as being contacted for custom work. I have sent my artwork across the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia. Now at age 50, I am a ‘real artist.’ I am incredibly blessed to have found April, and to have made friends with so many great people all over the world— all because of a beautiful, simple pregnant giraffe,” she said.
— Aimushka (@Aimushka1) March 29, 2017
Many people across the world chose to binge-watch April the giraffe instead of their favorite show on Netflix.
“I normally shut down my PC every night, but now I leave the feed on (full screen) so I can peek at it through the night. My husband calls it my crazy Giraffe Night light,” said Cassandra Wright Linthicum, who is a member of the Facebook Group April Giraffe Friends.
Barbara Doolittle, a retired teacher from Tennessee, says she was not as anxious when awaiting the birth of her grandchildren.
“I have six grandkids and I never lost as much sleep waiting on any of them as I have with this little giraffe. I guess I need a life,” she said.
— Kendra Hart (@Kendra6238) March 18, 2017
For many others, watching April has been a family affair.
Kelly Rowland, a foster carer from the U.K., said, “Following April has been a family affair. The kids have been watching too and when they came in from school she was the first thing they asked about and went straight to the laptop to see her.”
— bkandh (@bkandh) March 18, 2017
Janet Takat from New York says April the giraffe has had an impact on her teenage daughter, who is an autistic child.
“I’ve been watching April with my 15-year-old daughter who has autism. She loves it. She doesn’t talk… may be she utters a few words. But now, when I say giraffe, my daughter says, ‘Baby!’ We check in on her frequently—last thing at night and first thing in the morning.”
— Ash (@ashleyallenPGH) March 29, 2017
Stephanie Gomez-Jiminez from Albuquerque, says her 5-year-old son also has become fond of April.
“My youngest son Jonah and I have been watching April for nine weeks now. At first, I just wanted to show him something new and fun, then he kind of got on board and said April is never going to have her baby. By this time I was addicted. I watch all day and even wake up from a dead sleep to check on her,” said Stephanie, who jokes that her husband is ready to divorce her, as he feels April gets more attention than him.
— Alyssa Corfont (@weatherAC) March 30, 2017
At some level, everyone is able to relate to April, as she has more life lessons to offer.
Stephanie Funai, a behavioral counselor at an elementary school, says April has shown kids the value of patience.
“We are using April’s video as a calming tool right now. The kids and I love watching her and how she interacts and they’re very excited about the baby. We also use it to show patience and practice patience,” she said.
— Denise Fisher (@Denise13F) March 28, 2017
Karen Jackson Stagg, a retired teacher, said watching April has made her realize how much she missed the zoo.
“This experience has renewed my interest in visiting a zoo. I would love to travel to Animal Adventure to see mom, dad, and baby,” Stagg said.
— Melissa Howard (@hello_missi) March 18, 2017
Kathy Harcourt-Barrett, a physical therapist assistant from Michigan, says her patients are curious about April.
“Watching April and Oliver really continues to touch my soul. This brings me peace and I am thankful and happy to have engaged with like-minded people on this group. I am a physical therapist assistant. All of my patients and co-workers ask me about April, and take a peek at my computer screen to find out what April is up to.”
Anna Sousa from Texas, who belongs to the Facebook group April the giraffe, says watching the adorable animal is like therapy.
“I am addicted. I have been watching April since February 27. April has been my source of therapy. I usually suffer from panic attacks, but when I watch April, it calms me down. April has been such a wonderful part of my life for the last month. I don’t know what I’m going to do once this feed stops playing. I just love April, Oliver, and the staff. I think Animal Adventure Park is awesome, and they genuinely care for animals,” she said.
— Oskar MacDougal (@OskarMac2020) March 29, 2017
Kathi Williamson Richardson, a member of April the Giraffe Calf Cam, says watching the adorable animal is a stress buster of sorts.
“I have fibromyalgia. I have been having flares for months. April has given me a relaxing calming thing to do. I watch her at different times. I have set the tablet in the kitchen and watch while I cook. If it’s a struggle to sleep, I watch April. It’s actually quite relaxing,” she said.
For many other people, watching April offered a break from fake news and terrorism on television.
Roberta Dunspaugh DeMaio, a grandmother of two, said April the giraffe created a pleasant diversion from politics.
“With all the negativity surrounding US elections and the aftermath, I had pretty much given up on getting anything positive from social media. Until one night I clicked on a link to a giraffe ‘about to give birth.’ That was five weeks ago and I was immediately obsessed. I now plan to bring my two granddaughters to the Animal Adventure Park this year to not only meet the animals, but also meet the amazing Patch family and their wonderful staff,” she said.
— Michelle Ames (@michelleames) March 27, 2017
Kim Ivey Madsen, a court reporter for the State of Idaho, seconds her opinion.
“So my husband and I started watching April about a month ago. My son has ridiculed us saying, “How in the world can you watch something as insignificant as a giraffe when our country is in such a mess?.” “Well, son,” I replied, “that is exactly why we watch her; our country is in a mess and she is a calm and soothing respite from the state of the nation and the state of the world.”
Mary van Maren, a Canadian living in the Netherlands, says there is no chance of her ever visiting the Animal Adventure Park.
“Every morning I check to see how April is doing and also constantly during the day, but it’s grown to be much more than that. I have friends from around the world now with one thing in common—love for April, Oliver, and those fantastic people taking care of her,” she said.
— Angela Whitmire (@AngelaMWhitmire) March 27, 2017
Susan Turnier, another Facebook user, says that April has united people across the world.
“I find it amazing that people all over the world of different races, religious beliefs, countries, political ideology, income levels, ages, backgrounds and even different genders have come together with a common goal, to watch a beautiful animal give birth. If only the leaders of our many countries could learn from this love and compassion.”
— Alicia Renee Pettine (@AllAboutAlish) March 20, 2017
Taz Clayton, a nurse-turned-homemaker, is already worried about what she would do after April gives birth. A member of the Facebook group April the Giraffe, she has spent quite a lot of time babysitting April virtually.
“I have been watching April from the UK now for around six weeks. I am seriously sleep deprived, but can’t stop watching and I won’t until they take the cam down after the calf is born,” she said.
“I shall probably need some sort of therapy afterwards though,” she joked. “How will I fill my time when there is no April, Oliver or the calf to watch? May be we should have a support group called ‘Aprilholics’ – Life after April.”
— bean (@bean419) March 18, 2017
[Featured Image by Khaled Kazziha/AP Images]