Nearly 100,000 people tuned-in last week to watch April the giraffe give birth to her fourth calf at a New York zoo, with movement by the baby in her belly visible on a livestream video.
“The world waits on edge and April smirks with a mouthful of cud,” officials at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville wrote on Facebook. “Watch closely for strong kicks from within!”
In the video streaming on YouTube, April, a 15-year-old reticulated giraffe, can be seen pacing inside her barn and raising her tail before her delivery. Her mate, Oliver, can be seen in a nearby pen. (link to video: here)
Classed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in 2016, the world’s tallest mammals are usually found in dry savanna zones south of Africa’s Sahara desert.
Their main predators are humans, lions and crocodiles, experts say, and fewer than 100,000 are thought to exist in the wild.
Female giraffes are usually pregnant for 15 months, and April is about a month overdue, according to zoo officials. When it is born, her calf is expected to weigh around 150 pounds (68 kg) and be about 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall.
Zoo officials say they will only announce that April has gone into labor when calf hooves are visible. Giraffes naturally hide signs of labor so as not to alert predators.
The zoo will hold an online competition to name April’s calf.