April The Giraffe Update: Did Oliver Hurt April When He Was Acting Dominant In Her Stall?

People were concerned about April the giraffe after a cringeworthy incident took place in her stall Thursday evening that involved her mate, Oliver. The father of April’s calf shares space with her whenever handlers at Animal Adventure Park need to work in his stall, and the evening of April 13 served up some harrowing drama on the giraffe live cam.

When Alyssa put the giraffes to bed Thursday night, she let Oliver move into April’s stall as usual so she could get his space ready. What immediately unfolded was a show of dominance that Oliver hasn’t exhibited on camera before. He and April have been known to engage in some playful yet territorial “necking” behavior when they’re in close quarters, but this time around it went a little further than what viewers normally witness.

An extended session of “necking” between April and Oliver played out — with Oliver at times crashing his neck into April’s side. He’d then exert his domineering behavior by trying to block her and prevent her from going where she wanted. With April being a pregnant giraffe, it was enough to make people wince when they saw Oliver repeatedly hitting his neck against April’s side. The most comforting element was seeing Alyssa present the entire time as she tried coaxing Oliver back into his stall; she didn’t seem alarmed by the interaction between April and Oliver. It was a debacle a few times with April going into Oliver’s stall and him following right behind her. They’d go back into April’s stall and the whole process started over. Eventually, Oliver went back where he belonged and left April alone.

Animal Adventure Park, aware that people were worried whether Oliver harmed April, addressed his behavior towards her. The park’s update on Facebook indicated that April is just fine.

“Some people inquired about Oliver’s behavior with April earlier this evening. He was not being ‘aggressive’ -but he was certainly showing his dominance. You may have noticed his playful necking behaviors (not true aggressive necking behavior), his blocking her movements, etc. This is all part of the fun and games of a young bull. At no time did he pose and serious threat to April of her calf…her laying down puts more force on the womb/calf, than light head bumps from Oliver.”

It’s good to know that April the giraffe wasn’t hurt in the rough play she and Oliver were taking part in. Although April held her own well, Oliver appeared aggressive. Some might find it hard to believe that April laying down puts more force on the unborn calf than another animal hitting her side as hard as Oliver seemed to be.

Ironically, Jordan Patch, owner of Animal Adventure Park, did a live Q&A on Facebook just hours before the Oliver and April incident. He was explaining how “necking” is a form of showing dominance and isn’t something giraffes use to express affection. He did say that sometimes April does it as a form of hugging. With Oliver being a bull, he’s not as “gentle” with his necking behaviors. As Patch imparts, necking is actually a violent activity and the crushing blows would severely injure a human.

As for other updates on April the giraffe, she still has light discharge and her appetite is “so so.” Jordan revealed that given the fact that April’s due date is a lot later than they predicted, she probably conceived around December 2015. Giraffes have a 15-month gestation period.

Will April have another baby giraffe? Patch said in the Q&A that depending on her health and physical condition, she might have one more calf after this one.

Those concerned that Oliver might have hurt April can rest assured that the pregnant giraffe is doing great and the unborn calf is unharmed.

[Featured Image by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images]