UNITED STATES—More than 1.2 million people tuned in to watch April the giraffe give birth to her calf on Saturday, April 15 after months of anticipation.
Animal Adventure Park in Hapursville, N.Y. began live streaming 15-year-old April’s pen on February 22, and thousands have followed over the weeks of her 16-month pregnancy. Five-year-old giraffe Oliver fathered the calf.
Labor began around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, and lasted about two hours, according to Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch. The zoo went live on Facebook at 8 a.m. to announce the news.
“Everybody are you watching? It’s happening! The labor alert just went out. The team is assembling now,” Patch said during the live stream. “So tune in, don’t stop watching, cancel your plans; it is time to have a baby!”
By that time, two of the calf’s hooves were sticking out. At about 9:30 a.m., the head appeared, and the calf dropped shortly after at 9:50 a.m. The calf is a boy, and weighs around 180 pounds and stands six-feet-tall, according to zoo officials.
The birth of a baby giraffe is significant, as they are “vulnerable to extinction.” According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the giraffe population has dipped 40 percent in the last 30 years.
The public can help choose the calf’s name through a monetary vote, Patch indicated. Interested parties can nominate a name for $1 at Animal Adventure Park’s website. The money raised will be divided between giraffe conservation in the wild, giraffe care at Animal Adventure Park and an annual fundraiser called Ava’s Little Heroes.
Ava’s Little Heroes is an event named after the daughter of the park owners, who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy. The funds generated are directed toward local families facing unexpected medical journeys and expenses.
The calf is the third-ever giraffe at Animal Adventure Park, after Oliver, who arrived in May 2015 and April, who arrived in September 2015.