RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For the past couple of weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have been obsessed with April the giraffe.
A live stream continually plays from the Animal Adventure Park in New York, where April is waiting to give birth to her fourth calf. Mom was due to give birth on February 28th, but the world is still waiting.
“That’s the thing about these animals. they have their own schedule,” explained Jim Andelin, owner of the Metro Richmond Zoo. “We like to think that they have a due date, but you know, they’re on their own schedule.”
Just a few years ago, Andelin witnessed the same excitement at his own zoo.
in 2014, Jessie the giraffe gave birth to a little guy (Okay, maybe he was not so little by most standards). The calf was more than six feet tall and about 175 pounds.
“It is pretty neat to see that happens,” Andelin said.
He says when the time comes for the baby to be born, mom will do a lot of pacing. Labor can be as short as two hours or as long as two days. The calf will make quite an entrance by dropping about six feet to the ground.
“They just crumple to the ground, which is actually heart-wrenching to see that sometimes,” Andelin added. But he adds that provides the necessary jolt to the baby to help get it breathing.
As for April’s mate, Oliver, while on that live stream he appears to be looking lovingly at the mother of his calf, male giraffes do not recognize offspring as their own. Once the baby bonds with mom, though, all of the adult giraffes will help look after the little one.