April the Pregnant Giraffe Progressing 'in Front of Our Eyes,' Zoo Says - NBC Bay Area
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April the Pregnant Giraffe Progressing 'in Front of Our Eyes,' Zoo Says

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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    Cross those fingers, or hoofs, April is getting close, Animal Adventure Park says. 

    "April continues to progress in front of our eyes," the upstate New York zoo live-streaming the giraffe's world-famous pregnancy wrote on Facebook late Tuesday. "Mammary development has increased again." 

    Predictions by the zoo had April finally giving birth Tuesday, but like many others, that was thrown out the window. 

    "And away we go," the zoo said. 

    Tuesday turned into Wednesday morning and the calf was still yet to be born. However, the zoo said to keep watching the live stream because "all can change in a few minutes." 

    Watch the live stream below.

    All eyes lately have been on April's udders, with keepers and vets saying we are now seeing progression, despite the fact no baby giraffe had presented itself to the world just yet.

    "The udder continues to fill," Animal Adventure Park said. "The development occurs, generally, just prior to birthing."

    This is a very promising sign of progress, the zoo said, as April and the world continues to wait patiently for the arrival of the giraffe's newest calf. 

    "We do not expect any additional back end swell," the zoo said. "So all judging is now done based on udder changes."

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    When April goes into labor, the baby's front hoofs will be the first to come out, followed by the snout, the zoo says.

    Mom will naturally raise the calf on her own, and weaning could take between six to 10 months, maybe even longer -- the zoo says it won't rush the process. Once weaning is over, the baby giraffe will move on to another facility to start a breeding program there.

    "We cannot retain offspring, as it would lead to incestuous mating and undermine the genetics of the program and species," the zoo says on its YouTube page.

    This is 15-year-old April's fourth calf. Her younger, 5-year-old mate Oliver, however, is about to welcome his very first. He won't take any part in rearing the calf, though. Male giraffes, called bulls, really only care about two things, the zoo says: "fighting and the unmentionable."

    "He is a bull -- and a bull is a bull is a bull!" the zoo says.

    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.

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    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.

    "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. This is the zoo's first giraffe calf.

    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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