Straight From the Vet: The Mystery of April the Giraffe's Labor | NBC Bay Area
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Straight From the Vet: The Mystery of April the Giraffe's Labor

Tens of millions of people across the globe have tuned into the live stream in anticipation of the birth of April's fourth calf

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    Another day has passed and still no labor for April the giraffe. But why?

    In a Dr. Seussian Facebook post on Animal Adventure Park's page late Monday, the veterinarian caring for the now world-famous April wrote, "Unlike a dog, cat, human, horse, cow, goat, etc., there simply isn't enough consistent data to say, 'Tomorrow she'll go into labor.'"

    "Vets and zoo staff say they go by physical and behavioral changes to determine if labor is near. 

    "That helps us kind of hone in on a window where she could go into labor," the post said. "Predicting these things is next to impossible."

    Meanwhile, April continues to be happy and healthy, though the vet said she was a little off when he went for his visit Monday. 

    "She didn't come running over when I got there and took a bit of a coaxing to kiss the camera for carrots," the vet said.

    The zoo shared a cute closeup of April's face and said zoo staff would be installing new enrichment items in the pregnant giraffe's pen. Nearly 90,000 people were tuned in at 8 a.m., watching as a keeper swept April's pen.

    Two hours later, the lucky 120,000-plus streamers saw a positively adorable interaction between April and her 5-year-old mate Oliver; the two lovebirds were seen necking as keepers let them both into April's pen so they could outfit Oliver's habitat with new enrichment items as well.

    Watch the live stream below.

    Although it is hard to determine exactly when she will go into labor, April's fourth calf is making its presence known. The calf was visibly poking April's belly on Sunday, making a bulge in her side.

    "Holy smokes baby is sticking out," the zoo posted on its Facebook page. 

    April has had periods of edginess in recent weeks brought on by stretches of cold weather and her active calf. 

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    April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines late last month after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of commenters voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so.

    Jordan Patch, owner of the Animal Adventure Park, says the natural curiosity surrounding giraffes and their birthing process has been a huge factor in drawing crowds.

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    "I think the fact that she's a giraffe and she's a neat species that people are interested in, that's fostered a lot of the attention," he said. "The fact that you're gonna get to witness the miracle of birth from an animal that you really don't get to see give birth — that's neat."

    He added that April's pregnancy is not just live entertainment, but a teachable moment and source for education.

    Giraffe pregnancies last up to 15 months. Labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The calf, which will be the first born at Animal Adventure Park, will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour.

    The zoo said it will hold an online competition to name the baby giraffe once it's born.

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