Albany: After what seemed like an endless pregnancy, Internet sensation April the giraffe has finally given birth to a healthy baby boy.
Handlers at the Animal Adventure Park in New York introduced a live-stream and originally said April would give birth sometime between January and February, but the months came and went without a calf.
People spent hours upon hours watching a giraffe uneventfully pace around an enclosure, so when it was finally time for a baby, the Internet went crazy.
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The 15-year-old giraffe delivered her calf shortly before 10 a.m. EDT in an enclosed pen at the zoo in Harpursville, a rural upstate village about 130 miles (209 kilometers) northwest of New York City. The mama giraffe tenderly licked her calf, which began to slowly pick its head up from the floor of the pen. About 45 minutes after it was born, the calf stood on its wobbly legs for the first time while mom helped keep her baby steady.
— Madison Miller (@_Madi_M_) April 16, 2017
At least 1.2 million people watched the Adventure Park’s YouTube streaming of the event. A logo on the feed quickly changed from ToysRUs to BabiesRUs following the birth.
This is April’s fourth calf, but Animal Adventure Park’s first giraffe calf. The proud papa, a 5-year-old giraffe named Oliver, watched from an adjacent pen. This is his first offspring.
The privately owned zoo began livestreaming from April’s enclosure in February. People around the world have been tuning in daily.
A contest will be held to decide on a name for the calf.
The park’s livestream was briefly interrupted in February when YouTube pulled the feed after someone reported the images contained explicit material and nudity. Jordan Patch, owner of the Animal Adventure Park, blamed “a handful of extremists and animal rights activists” for the interruption.
The wait for the giraffe became an anxiety-ridden experience for some. A Farmington, New Hampshire, songwriter even posted a music video on YouTube called, “I’m Going Crazy Waiting (For A Giraffe).”
The reaction on Twitter was ebullient and hopeful: “We did it, internet! We had a giraffe baby together;” ”Everybody sticking their neck out for this baby giraffe;” and “On a day where “mother of all bombs” is a trending phrase, I love how the world unites over the birth of a baby giraffe.”
Animal Adventure Park posted a photo to Instagram announcing April was in labor, and fans could not have been more excited.