By the time you guys read this blog, April would have HOPEFULLY given birth and released me and the rest of the internet from this perpetual state of “Did-She or Did-She-Not”. Who is April, you may ask? Well, April is a 15-year-old giraffe at Animal Adventure Park in New York about to give birth to her 4th calf. She is at the end of her 15-month pregnancy. As of 27th February, veterinarians say she is showing signs of getting ready to go into active labor.
Why is this news though? Well, a few days ago, some people in charge of the Animal Adventure Park in New York had the brilliant idea to set up a live stream for April, who was due any day now, so animal lovers could tune in for her birth. April went into labour on 22nd February and the internet went into a frenzy. Excitement surrounding the imminent birth of a baby giraffe started growing by the hour and naturally the hashtag #GiraffeWatch2017 started trending.
News sites and blogs started providing regular updates on the watch
The live stream on 23rd Feb earned more than 5.9 million views
As of Saturday 25th February, live stream of her wait attracted upwards of 30 million viewers on Youtube.
“To watch a wild animal go through something so monumental is incredibly rare, which explains why April has basically become a social media celebrity in her own right!” (Hollywood Life, 2017). Due to people’s mounting interest in April, the park started providing regular updates on their Facebook page with Dr. Tim and Secondary Giraffe Keeper Corey keeping regular tabs on her.
One day after the live stream started, zoo owner Jordan Patch took to Facebook live saying YouTube shut off the giraffe live stream because of “nudity and sexual content.” Patch said “a handful of extremists and animal activist” caused the cam to go dark. (USAToday, 2017) but under pressure from the web, YouTube quickly reinstated it. The stream, which probably would have gone unnoticed by the majority of the internet, got major attention after the controversy. That was Thursday, it’s now Monday and April, the giraffe, has yet to give birth.
Naturally, the internet has started to grow impatient.
The zoo owner Jordan Patch held a Facebook live to explain the situation. “It’s a very natural process, and we can’t put timelines on that,” Patch said on Thursday. “Timelines are human invented. Animals and nature will do everything on their timeline.” Patch then explained that the labor process can take two to six hours, or sometimes it can take days. The zoo said it will announce the birthing process as soon as it knows it’s happening for sure, and it explained why April may not look like she’s in labor yet.
“Please remember – we will not announce active labor until calf hooves are visible. Naturally, giraffes hide signs of labor – as to not alert every predator around, that they and a new calf will be vulnerable to attack. However, once we are final stages of the labor – the process is quick. Visible hooves- to – calf on the ground, can be as short as 30 minutes!” (Mashable, 2017)
Due to increasing interest in the giraffe, the zoo has also announced a contest that will be launched after birth where fans will get to decide on the baby’s name. But who knows how long do the fans have to wait to take part in this contest. As of 27th February, April still hasn’t shown any signs of being in active labour (currently over 58,000 people are watching with her Live with bated breath, as I write this blog)
As per the latest update from the park, April is fine, she has had her breakfast and the baby has been kicking regularly but hasn’t yet decided to grace the world with his or her presence.
Hopefully, by the time you read this blog, April would have had her baby but until then, all I and the rest of the internet can do is wait and pray as #GiraffeWatch2017 continues..