April in Glenwood: Pulling for a pregnant giraffe named April
The other night I spent an hour waiting for a pregnant giraffe to give birth online. It didn’t happen that night. Nor has it taken place in the week since.
There must be odds in Vegas saying when she’ll go.
The 15-year-old pregnant giraffe is coincidentally named April, housed at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York. She’s not the first giraffe in captivity to give birth — the Denver Zoo welcomed a new calf named Dobby on Feb. 28. In April 2015, the Dallas Zoo and Animal Planet hosted a giraffe birth live-streaming video cam with more than 2 million views.
Giraffe births are the new cat videos.
April’s newborn will be the first giraffe calf to be born at Animal Adventure, an educational, interactive park opening May 13. She may be the first mom giraffe to become a record-breaking, live-streaming Internet sensation, though. Her live cam is estimated to have been viewed by 20-30 million people as the world awaits the new calf’s arrival.
Who knew that would be a thing?
So many people have viewed April’s pre-labor activity — she officially doesn’t go into labor until her water breaks — she’s become a household name. Her live cam popularity even garnered a spin-off this week by South Carolina photographer Erin Dietrich. More than 30 million viewers watched a pregnant Dietrich donning a giraffe mask and maternity yoga pants in her bedroom, stretching and pacing in hopes of going into labor. She even made a follow-up video at the hospital before her baby boy was born Wednesday that millions have viewed. Plus a sweet breastfeeding photo after, flashing a peace sign while wearing her giraffe mask.
I predict giraffe masks to be a big hit this Halloween.
I’m a big animal lover, so the idea of seeing a giraffe calf come into the world seems nothing short of amazing. Not to age myself too much, but back in my day we didn’t have live-streaming video cams documenting giraffe births to view 24/7. The closest we came was probably in the mid-’80s, as network news covered the births of five giant panda cubs born to Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. I remember obsessing over pandas, writing a book report on them and adding puffy stickers to my collection.
I even had a Trapper Keeper with pandas on it.
My elementary school-aged self could never predict the world would have something as spellbinding as the Internet to watch live-streaming video of giraffe births. Especially on a cordless, hand-held mobile telephone. The Internet continues to amaze me. I didn’t even use email until my senior year in college, in my business communication class.
I really aged myself there.
As a kid, I witnessed a few kittens and puppies being born. And 19 months ago, I birthed a baby of my own. April’s wait for her new bundle of joy feels familiar since I was placed on bed rest before Will was born. What was supposed to be five weeks of bed rest was shortened to 10 days, when I surprisingly went into labor almost two months early.
Thankfully, pregnancy for humans isn’t as prolonged and the babies aren’t as big.
Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months, and April’s newborn is expected to weigh 150 pounds and measure six feet tall. The babe is the fourth for April and the first for her 5-year-old mate, Oliver. Although she’s overdue, park officials say there’s no need for worry, as she’s in fine physical and mental condition. Just be patient.
Basically, she knows the drill.
I can’t say why April’s birthing journey is being viewed by tens of millions. Maybe we all need a dose of happy baby news. It could be that giraffes are already extinct in at least seven countries in Africa, as I learned yesterday on the park’s Facebook page.
Each day they’re including a giraffe/conservation fact.
I enjoy revisiting the birth process since memories of mine are a bit fuzzy after an emergency C-section. Much like a giraffe calf, Will planned to come into this world feet first.
That’s hooves first for giraffes, which is a good thing for mama.
Whenever I check April’s live feed — several times a day at this point — I always tell myself, “Just 10 more minutes.” That goes on until I realize I’ve spent an hour watching a pregnant giraffe pace around her stall. I get way too excited when I see her change positions, say when she chooses to lie down. With a 6-foot-tall baby in the womb, I don’t blame her. I never know when her water will break and the calf may arrive, and I’ll witness it in real-time.
What are the odds of that?
April E. Allford hopes April the giraffe’s calf is named Will if he’s a boy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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