On Monday morning, Feb. 27, 2017, Animal Adventure Park (AAP) staff updated the public through their official Facebook page regarding the current health status of a 15-year-old, pregnant Reticulated giraffe at their zoo. April the giraffe is pregnant and could go into labor at any moment delivering what would be her fourth calf. The Park began live streaming April’s pregnancy and news that they would live stream April’s birth has caused the Park and the giraffe cam to go viral. Since the announcement of April’s open-ended imminent birth, millions have tuned in to watch the giraffe cam streaming live online. In addition to April’s and her calf’s health status update, AAP announced they would hold a live question and answer chat session this evening.
According to the latest AAP update, April is in good health and will most likely spend time outdoors today. She and her mate Oliver “Ollie” are in side-by-side pens, but this is due to the cold weather and the fact that April is pregnant. In warmer weathers, the giraffes spend the majority of their time outdoors, according to comments made by park staff on the Facebook page. Park staff keep Ollie and April apart due to Ollie’s rough housing that can cause unintentional injury and possible harm to April and their unborn calf. During interactions this morning with park staff, it was assessed that the baby is moving frequently and April’s condition hasn’t signified any sudden changes. She is not in active labor, despite frequent media reports saying she is. April is exhibiting multiple signs that labor can begin imminently or at any moment.
Some who are watching the giraffe cam live stream have questioned whether it is okay for April to stand for long periods of time while pregnant or asked if she’s in great pain. When April rests on the ground, she moves slowly and appears to be very awkward as she finds her resting position. In this morning’s update, AAP assured viewers that her awkward movements are normal and are simply a result of the growing baby inside her. Newborn giraffe calves weigh approximately 150 pounds and stand six feet tall. April will give birth standing up, and the baby will be born with hooves appearing first then will plop to the ground. The entire process from the first sighting of hooves to a full delivery can be 30 minutes long. The AAP will announce active labor has begun once they see hooves appear.
The official morning update includes a picture of April and Oliver when they first met. Oliver was 3-years-old, and April was 13-years-old. Since then, the two have bonded and this calf is the first for Oliver. This is April’s fourth calf. Live cams will continue to stream coverage of the newborn calf after birth as long as it is practical for the staff. Unfortunately, the calf will not stay at the Animal Adventure Park indefinitely. Oliver and April are the resident giraffe couple, and there are no plans for the giraffes to be housed outside of the park. As giraffes are a threatened species and are on watch lists, the calf will be sent to a facility with a breeding program to help conservation and repopulation efforts.
Though the Animal Adventure Park has frequently answered many questions on their Facebook page, they announced they would not have time today to take questions through Facebook or email. They are pointing viewers and fans to tonight’s YouTube chat that will accompany the live streaming video. To access the chat visit the official YouTube feed and click refresh to bring up the chat. You might need to toggle the chat window on. The live chat will take place from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. ET, but it might run over depending on staff and park activity. The official AAP website states the park is home to more than 70 animal species, and approximately 200 animals live there. If you look through the official Facebook posts and photo albums, you’ll see that many animal babies have recently been born in the park. Stay tuned for tonight’s update and chat session. Are you watching April the giraffe live online? Are you awaiting the birth of her calf?
[Featured Image by Athol Abrahams/Shutterstock]