Giraffe watch: April feasts as appetite grows

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HARPURSVILLE, NY (RNN) – Keepers at the Animal Adventure Park said Thursday night that April the Giraffe’s appetite has grown after “days of picking at hay and grain.”

“We have been told by other parks that mothers will sometimes feast just before the birth,” the park said.

In an earlier post, vets pointed to a lack of appetite as a sign of impending labor, and April had an early “light’s out” in an attempt to speed up labor, the keepers also said.

In a Facebook post Friday, they expected April to give birth soon, and they would be “shocked” if she went through the weekend without giving birth.

As of early Thursday morning, the world was still waiting.

The vet says he’s not concerned by the fact that April has not yet given birth, and he says viewers shouldn’t be worried either. He says April will simply have her baby when she is ready.

In previous Facebook posts, keepers chronicled significant developments that led them to believe the birth was nearing.

Animal Adventure Park also announced Saturday that their text alert system, which will provide updates from labor to May 31, is ready for viewers to subscribe.

It’s been more than a month since the park shared the news of April’s impending birth with the world, via social media. Thousands of fans have kept watch over live webcam footage chronicling April’s every move. On Friday, they were startled by a momentary webcam breakdown, and at least 2,000 April fans sent emails to the park alerting staff to the disconnect. The camera was back up soon after.

April’s vet has said there isn’t enough data on giraffe pregnancies to determine exactly when April could go into labor. By March 23, the park reported she had become notably slower, saying that April was “in the home stretch” of her pregnancy.

April’s popularity led to a sponsorship from Toys ‘R’ Us, which has long featured the fictional “Geoffrey the Giraffe” as its mascot.

“Both Animal Adventure Park and Toys ‘R’ Us have the common goal of bringing awareness to the plight of the giraffe as well as the need to create a sustainable future for them,” the Facebook post stated. “Made possible in part by their sponsorship, Animal Adventure Park will be donating $25,000 to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation!”

Tens of thousands of people have been tuned in for days watching the reticulated giraffe walk around her pen and do very little else, waiting until she has the baby.

The calf will be April’s fourth calf and her mate Oliver’s first calf.

The little giraffe won’t be all that little. At birth it will weigh in at about 150 pounds and will stand at about 6′ tall, Animal Adventure Park said.

The feed was earlier removed by YouTube after it was labeled sexually explicit. The park blamed the removal on animal rights activists who oppose zoos.

While April has not yet given birth, the park reported on its Facebook page that it has welcomed three black belly Barbados lambs and twin pygmy goats since the giraffe watch began.

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