It's March 17, 2017, St. Patrick's Day, and April the Giraffe is still pregnant and making news, but the countdown to the sound of calf hooves hitting the barn stall floor has begun. April is a 15-year-old Reticulated giraffe who lives at the Animal Adventure Park (AAP), located in Harpursville, New York, with her 5-year-old mate Oliver "Ollie." The park is currently closed and preparing for a May 17 opening and during that time a giraffe cam that owner Jordan Patch set up to live stream April and her calf's live birth has gone viral. Each day, viewers wait and watch to experience April enter active labor and witness the miracle of a live giraffe birth unfold online. April is undoubtedly the most famous giraffe and has become an unofficial "spokesgiraffe" or ambassador for giraffe conservation. As millions watch the live cam, April the Giraffe is proving that one giraffe in a heated stall in New York can be a loud voice in what has been referred to as the silent extinction. Once April's calf is born and old enough, he or she will join a conservation-based breeding program at a zoo. You may watch the live giraffe cam in the video playlist below.There are a few final changes that must occur before active labor begins including the baby dropping into the birth canal. It is typical for giraffes to lose their appetite and drink more water the day of active labor. We'll be keeping a close watch on April's feeding and drinking habits. Healthy, strong kicks are one of the signs to look for as the baby's movement visibly increases approximately two weeks before active labor, delivery, and birth. Have you witnessed April's calf kicking while watching the live giraffe cam?If you haven't watched the live giraffe cam before, you are truly missing out on what could be a rare, once in a lifetime opportunity. The cam began streaming in January and is the first time the Animal Adventure Park set up live streams from the park. The AAP had a local fan base, but nothing compared with the worldwide notoriety they and April have gained now. Many locals knew that the Animal Adventure Park had obtained a giraffe, and she was pregnant. They continually asked Patch for updates, and he thought the cam would be a great way for local park visitors to stay up-to-date on April's latest condition and labor progress. The live stream was on YouTube and once media began reporting on it, the news went viral. Today, millions of people not only watch the live giraffe cam each day but want to know April's latest progress, when she will make the transition to active labor and are excited to get a first look at April's baby calf. The live cam will only stream the calf briefly unless a decision is made to do otherwise.
The Animal Adventure Park live giraffe cam streams 24/7 and shows April the Giraffe in her barn. The giraffe barn is heated so the animals are kept warm during the winter months and April has plenty of hay, food, and water. She enjoys throwing hay around and if you witness this on the live cam it's referred to as a hay shower. You can see visible changes in April's stomach and behavior as the baby continues to prepare for active labor and delivery. The closer the baby is to being born, the more activity you'll detect. There will be plenty of forceful kicks and baby shifting. Right now, we are waiting for the baby calf to enter the birth canal and prepare for the final descent. When the baby moves into the birthing position you will see a noticeable change in April's stomach and a shifting where the bulk of the belly drops.
The Animal Adventure Park held a live Q&A session on April the Giraffe, her upcoming labor and their park. You can watch the full video that was held on Facebook live below. Though the AAP is live streaming the giraffe cam on YouTube, once April's active labor begins they will stream a second live video feed on Facebook. If you want to receive notifications when April goes into active labor follow, the AAP on Facebook and choose to receive notifications. This way you'll be alerted any time they go live.April's body continues to do much of the hard work that's necessary before active labor and delivery can begin. Her udders have enlarged and contain fluid. There are wax caps present, and her stomach has grown considerably larger over the past several weeks. Most notable is swelling of the vulva and a discharge. This indicates that active labor is not far off and though the discharge has been present for several days, there is still no way to predict when active labor will begin. Every birth process is different and active labor will begin when it's time. April receives veterinary care from Dr. Tim. He examines her at least once per day and sometimes multiple times per day.
Something that is rather curious is that April continues to give false signals where she will stand with her legs spread, lift her tail and behave in a manner that is common to the birthing process. It is highly possible that since this is April's fourth calf, her body remembers the birth process and she is naturally in tune with what is happening. Since she is seemingly practicing for the main event and Dr. Tim continues to give April a clean bill of health there is no reason for concern.
The Animal Adventure Park has been phenomenal in regards to keeping their viewers updated. In addition to providing morning and evening April the Giraffe updates on Facebook, they routinely chat with viewers and answer questions through a variety of means. When the giraffe cam feed first streamed on YouTube, they kept the chatroom open and answered questions there. As April became a viral sensation and broke the Internet, more people would chat. As the AAP is an educational facility that appeals to children, the chat room became an unsafe place for children to learn about giraffes in a safe environment. The AAP shut down the YouTube chat but will schedule chat sessions when time is available. They announce the YouTube chats through their Facebook updates that are routinely posted. They also hold special Facebook live announcements that give an educational look at the Animal Adventure Park and some of the other animals that live there.
Here is the morning update for March 18, 2017. There is exciting news as April's stomach has dropped indicating the baby is moving into the birth canal. Here is the full update.
The Animal Adventure Park evening update didn't reveal any significant changes for April the giraffe. She is still progressing at her own speed, but rest assured active labor is coming. She is making all the necessary preparations to deliver her calf on time. Here is the evening update for March 17, 2017.
The morning update for March 17 was a little later than usual. The AAP stated they were having meetings this morning causing a bit of a posting delay. April's condition hasn't changed and she's still on track for active labor at any moment. Here is the morning update as well as the full post. Included is a beautiful photo of April and Oliver squinting in the sun.
The evening update for March 16 contained some new information regarding April's current labor status. There is increased swelling in the vulva area and the baby calf is kicking with greater frequency and intensity. Here is the update along with the full post. You can also see photos of the Animal Adventure Park and the snow they had to remove after Stella descended upon New York.
The morning update for March 16 also revealed new information regarding April the Giraffe's labor. At 1:45 a.m. ET, April exhibited behavior that had viewers convinced she was in labor. Here is the full Animal Adventure Park update.
Are you watching April the Giraffe live online? Are you excited for the birth of her calf? Stay tuned for more latest news and updates.
[Featured Image by Anaite/Shutterstock]