In February, the Animal Adventure Park in New York began streaming the pregnancy of April the giraffe live on YouTube. It wasn't long before the giraffe cam went viral, with millions of people watching daily. The owner of the Animal Adventure Park, Jordan Patch, used April's popularity as a way to educate individuals around the world. Each day, the park posted "giraffe factoids" on its Facebook page and answered questions in the nightly chat sessions.
Patch has credited April and her baby Tajiri for supplying a voice to a once "silent extinction." April the giraffe, baby Tajiri, and Oliver are reticulated giraffes, a species that has been quickly dwindling in number. The level of education provided by the Animal Adventure Park during the pregnancy of April the giraffe was substantial. Viewers of the giraffe cam on YouTube were given an opportunity to learn about giraffes, conservation, and pregnancy as they watched.
A post shared by Animal Adventure Park (@animaladventurepark) on
Parents shared with their children, and teachers used the giraffe cam to educate their classrooms. At Beach Elementary, in Cedar Springs, Michigan, a classroom of second and third graders kept tabs on April and her pregnancy. As the world waited for April to give birth, the children illustrated what they saw. They drew pictures about the facts they were learning and what they were seeing.
With a few words from their teacher, Mrs. Burke, the children created a 37-page book titled April's Baby.
While describing the book, Burke said, "Each student that's here drew a picture somewhere in this book, it might be small, it might be big but it's in here and then we have one student that actually designed the cover."
"The population of giraffes is declining by a huge amount and very fast and so, it's a good chance for the kids to see that if things don't change their children and their grandchildren will not have these animals.
"She doesn't know she's famous, she just is a giraffe, doing giraffe things, but she has this huge mission to bring awareness to the plight of the giraffe."
Like April's live stream, the book quickly gained popularity. Since the Animal Adventure Park shared the news of the book's publication on its Facebook page, it has reached Amazon's bestseller list and has sold over 2,000 copies worldwide. The learning for the children of Beach Elementary still continues, as they track the sales of the book and shipment locations on a map. One student mentioned in an interview with WZZM that it is interesting to see where all of the April's Baby books were being sent.Aside from the book, the story of how it came to be is also a viral topic.
"The place with the most comments came from is definitely the U.K.," a student said.
"It's not just an art project, it's not just a project on saving the giraffes -- it's so much more, it's just bigger than that, it turned into a geography lesson as well now," Burke said.
The book, April's Baby, currently has 106 customer reviews and a five-star rating. Everyone who has had the pleasure of flipping through its colorful pages seems to be in love with the story and illustrations alike. One such reviewer had the following to say.
"I smiled all the way through April's Baby. I am so impressed with how imaginative and humorous the artwork that accompanies this sweet story is. These students should be very proud of themselves and their teacher should be thanked for giving them this opportunity. What a fantastic lesson for them all. And all for a good cause, as well!"
The proceeds from the book, which can be purchased on Amazon, will go toward helping to take care of the animals at the Animal Adventure Park, where April the giraffe, baby Tajiri, and Oliver live.
[Featured Image by Animal Adventure Park/Instagram]