The moment millions of people around the globe have been eagerly waiting for has finally arrived. April the Giraffe – probably one of the world’s most famous reticulated giraffes – is giving birth, and her calf is about to meet the world. April’s contractions have been coming at more regular intervals and increased frequency.
Many users on social media are at the edge of their seats, waiting for the first glimpse of a hoof or an ear or any other adorable appendage that could appear any moment now, according to park officials.
You can watch April give birth below.
Since February this year, the world has been engrossed in watching the final stage of April the Giraffe’s fifteen-month long pregnancy. Animal Adventure Park, April’s home in Harpursville NY, has been live-streaming all of April’s movements on YouTube.
It’s been roughly fifteen months since the world first heard about April and her mate, Oliver, the daddy-giraffe who just this morning could be seen very nervously pacing around his pen waiting for April to go into active labor. For Oliver, this will be his first calf, and for April it marks her fourth.
Oliver, April’s mate, has never had a calf before but has been displaying all the right signs of an excellent father-to-be. He’s been actively watching over April, often pacing along with her, and when they’ve been in a stall together, they’ve cuddled like any loving couple would.
You can watch this very special moment unfold live here.
Since Thursday night, March 30, staff at the Animal Adventure Park had noticed that April’s behavior was “very off” when she refused to allow park Vets to approach her for an exam. The owner of Animal Adventure Park, Jordan Patch, seemed to be pleased with April’s progress.
“April has progressed significantly overnight and, by all means, today is not the day to stop watching. We are there. We are close. All signs are go.”
On the park’s Facebook page staff mentioned that April’s vet, Dr. Tim, had been summoned to be on site as all signs indicated that April was ready to reveal her calf. The staff also predicted that it was highly likely that the calf would arrive before the end of the weekend.
So what happens after the calf is born?
According to Animal Planet, April’s calf should be able to walk with half an hour to an hour after birth. Standing is essential for the calf for it to be able to nurse from April. Within a day or so the calf will be strong enough to run around. Once the calf is roughly four-months-old, it will transition from drinking April’s milk to eating leaves.
Bonding is a crucial process immediately after birth and April will initiate this by licking off any remaining amniotic fluids from the calf’s skin. April will also help the weakling calf to stand up for the first time. Male calves remain with their mothers for fifteen months, while females stay a little longer for up to eighteen months.
While in the wild a giraffe lives for an average of fifteen years, in captivity their lifespan increases to over twenty years as a result of careful tending by humans.
If you are interested in sponsoring April, Oliver, their newborn calf and all the other giraffes at Animal Adventure Park, click here to donate.
[Featured Image by Sue Ogrocki/AP Images]