Why Animal Adventure Park’s Live Cam And April The Giraffe Have Captivated Millions [Opinion]

If the latest April the giraffe updates are right on the money, we’re headed to the homestretch. It’s been more than a month since Harpursville, New York’s Animal Adventure Park launched its live cam, and hundreds of thousands each day tune in to see if April, a 15-year-old reticulated giraffe, is getting ready to give birth. As of now, there are more than 1.4 million viewers tuned in, and it will truly be momentous if these viewers are all lucky enough to witness the miracle of birth, as April’s fourth calf opens its eyes to the world for the first time.

Like several other Inquisitr colleagues, I’ve been covering April the giraffe regularly for the past few weeks. But this isn’t another one of those periodic updates; instead, it’s this writer talking about April and discussing why so many people have gotten hooked on the live giraffe cam.

First off, we must talk about the unusual premise of it all — a New York petting zoo setting up a live giraffe cam for people to view from the comfort of their homes. Of course, it’s nothing unusual when zoo animals give birth, but the fact that Animal Adventure Park installed a live cam stuck out as such a novel concept, and one that people had quickly cottoned on to. After all, it’s one thing to witness everyday animals go through pregnancy, and another, far more interesting thing if it’s one of those unusually tall, yet exceedingly rare giraffes doing so.

null

In an interview with Fox 8 Cleveland, Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch said earlier this month that his park’s live giraffe cam has been instrumental in educating and informing people about the plight of giraffes, which are currently considered a threatened species.

“The whole goal of our park is an interactive educational facility and this webcam has provided that by a world-wide platform. People all over the world are now talking about giraffes, they’re talking about their plight in the wild, they’re talking about preservation.”

Thanks to Animal Adventure Park’s regular “giraffe factoids” included in its April the Giraffe updates on Facebook, people are indeed learning more about giraffes. But beyond learning more about these fascinating animals and being made aware of their threatened status, people have also been brought together in a way that’s hard to explain in a few brief sentences.

“Jordan, Alyssa and Corey…the world has fallen in love with you all as well as April and Oliver! Thank you so much for uniting us in a positive manner.”

That above comment from the AAP Facebook page says it all — when people watch Animal Adventure Park’s live cam on YouTube, they don’t think about whether so-and-so votes Democrat or Republican, or which former partner in a separating or divorcing couple is in the right or in the wrong. None of the big or small topics that could potentially divide us are present — it’s just anywhere from several thousands to close to a million-and-a-half people watching a giraffe cam, thanking AAP for its regular April the Giraffe updates, and waiting and hoping for April to give birth.

There’s also the expectation that this whole April the giraffe thing will lead to a worthwhile payoff in the end, silly conspiracy theories notwithstanding. Compared to other viral sensations, the April phenomenon is more than just funny memes, though the internet has had no shortage of these, due to the time it’s taking for April to give birth. We’re talking the birth of a live baby giraffe here, and it’s not every day we get to witness an animal giving birth in real-time.

null

Furthermore, Animal Adventure Park’s live cam has offered all its viewers a different take on “reality TV,” a genre that many people dismiss as cheap and/or trashy. Speaking to Fox 8 Live earlier this month, clinical psychologist Michelle Moore gave a short, yet meaningful explanation of why this is such with the giraffe cam.

“Think of how people like reality TV. This is reality TV at its finest. It’s something really happening right now. Even if it’s remote, you’re part of the experience going on.”

Yes, some may say that there are more important things to fuss about than a mother giraffe who just won’t give birth. Things such as Donald Trump and his government’s alleged Russian ties, whether Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed or not, and all those myriad reports of alleged inequality and intolerance in this world. But April the giraffe has provided us with the ideal distraction — you can call it shallow escapism, but for this writer, it’s a rare chance to get away from it all in a good way, and once again, see the miracle of birth as it happens.

So with that said, thank you, Animal Adventure Park, and thank you, live giraffe cam. As always, we’re pulling for April as she prepares to give birth, and hoping that she gives birth without any hitch or complication.

[Featured Image by Animal Adventure Park/Instagram]