Will April the Giraffe give birth this week? There is a good possibility, but still, there are several necessary changes April must undergo before active labor begins. April is a 15-year-old Reticulated giraffe and internet sensation who lives at the Harpursville, New York Animal Adventure Park (AAP) owned by Jordan Patch. The park is closed for winter and reopens May 13, 2017, with more than 200 animals including April's 5-year-old mate Oliver. Patch set up a live cam to keep the zoo's fans updated on April's condition and by the end of February, the cam was viral. Today, millions worldwide have tuned into the giraffe cam waiting and watching to see a giraffe calf born live and in real time. Is April ready for active labor? Will April give birth to her calf before April Fool's Day? Watch the Animal Adventure Park live cam below.The Animal Adventure Park provides morning and evening updates regarding April's current condition, progress, and journey towards active labor. You may read the latest AAP updates and discover the changes April has experienced as she prepares for her new calf below.Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch describes active labor as the appearance of the calf's hooves sticking out. In the latest labor update, the staff shared a photo of the giraffe sticking out of April's tummy, but this was simply a movement within the womb and not the appearance of hooves. There are still changes that April must go through before hooves are seen.
First and most important, April still has wax caps on her udders. Changes in April's udders are significant and the best indication we will have for when active labor begins. April's udders must grow larger, fill with milk and the wax caps must shed. This is all in preparation for the newborn calf. Once the caps shed and the udders are engorged with milk, we can expect active labor within two days. At this point, April still has wax caps, but several days ago, in one of the labor updates, the Animal Adventure Park shared a photo of April's stomach and udders. Those who have watched the live giraffe cam and followed April since February were quick to notice how much larger her udders have grown. However, the presence of wax caps means active labor and birth are not immediate. Once those wax caps shed, be prepared. April will give birth and there is a high possibility April will shed the wax caps and her udders will fill with milk this week.
Another change that is underway is the baby shifting into the birthing position. Approximately two weeks before birth, the baby calf's movements will become noticeable. They will become more pronounced the closer April gets to active labor, delivery, and birth of the calf. In the latest Animal Adventure Park updates, we've learned that the giraffe calf continues to kick with great force. Some of the updates described the calf's movements as karate and cartwheels. This is all normal, to be expected, and will continue to accelerate until delivery. Keep in mind that April the Giraffe will give birth standing up and the calf will fall approximately six feet to the ground. Within half an hour, the calf will stand up and will be able to walk and run within hours. The calf doesn't need to develop leg muscles or strength to learn to walk like human babies do. This is why the intensity level of the kicks and movements increase before active labor.
The size, shape, and location of April's stomach are another tell-tale sign of labor and the birth of the calf. The calf needs to drop into the birth canal. When that happens, April's stomach will appear to have a different shape. Previous updates do show some changes in April's stomach but the shape is still changing. What really indicates the onset of active labor is the presence of milk and the shedding of wax caps. All eyes will be watching April's udders to see if she will give birth this week.Do you still have questions regarding April the Giraffe? You're not alone. Fortunately, the Animal Adventure Park is an educational facility and the staff has gone out of their way to answer as many questions the public has regarding the zoo, giraffes and April's upcoming labor, delivery, and the birth of her calf through Facebook and YouTube. If you have questions, interact with the park. They will answer your questions to the best of their ability. You may watch a video presentation where Jordan Patch held a live Facebook Q&A and answered submitted questions below. Are you watching the live giraffe cam? Do you hope April gives birth this week? Stay tuned for the latest Animal Adventure Park news and April the Giraffe labor updates.
[Featured Image by Edwin Butter/Shutterstock]