HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. (WTXF/AP) - The moment you may have been waiting for since February finally happened for April!
Saturday morning, the 15-year-old giraffe gave birth at a New York zoo as at least 1.2 million people around the world watched live. Click here to see the moments after the birth.
Later, the text alert came that April's baby is a boy.
FOX 29 brought you April going into labor on Saturday morning. Then, moments before 10am, the 15-year-old gave birth, ending weeks of proverbial pacing by animal lovers in a virtual worldwide waiting room.
She delivered her calf in an enclosed pen.
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.
At 11:35am, Animal Adventure Park posted “All is well” on its Facebook page but did not disclose the baby's gender.
Courtesy Animal Adventure Park's YouTube streaming:
This is April's fourth calf, but Animal Adventure Park's first giraffe calf.
In early February, the privately owned zoo began prepping its Facebook followers for an impending birth. It launched a live camera view of its giraffe stalls and then got a corporate sponsor.
A GoFundMe fundraiser page that initially set a goal of $50,000 sat at more than $125,000 on Saturday morning. The money will be used for the care of the animals.
Soon after, the park's livestream was briefly interrupted after someone reported the images contained explicit material and nudity, and YouTube pulled the feed. Jordan Patch, owner of the Animal Adventure Park, blamed "a handful of extremists and animal rights activists" for the interruption.
Since then, zookeepers Alyssa, Corey, and Joel -- plus the park's owner, Jordan -- gave regular updates on the goings-on at the park and in the giraffes' stalls. Alyssa could regularly be seen just before bedtime in the stalls, feeding the giraffes special treats of carrots and lettuce.
At times, keepers were forced to stay overnight due to brutal winter weather. On a few occasions, the weather took down internet service, including the giraffe camera, concerning fans and sending park workers into frenzies. They reported being bombarded with emails, calls and comments from April fans across the world when the camera would go down.
Conspiracy theories also plagued the park's comment threads from people claiming ideas from an elaborate April Fool's joke to April not actually being pregnant. But the park maintained any conspiracy theories were just that.
Finally, after weeks with no signs of a baby, the park said its staff and veterinarian, Dr. Tim, may have been wrong about the conception date.
Whoever said April isn't earning her keep?
The park also parted ways with its original sponsor at the end of February, making way for Toys R Us to capitalize on its established mascot, Geoffrey the giraffe. Since then, the Toys R Us logo has been synonymous with April and Oliver's live feed. The logo on the feed quickly changed from Toys R Us to Babies R Us following the birth.
Some of the money the park is making from April's popularity will go to other good use. After launching a separate website for all things April -- www.AprilTheGiraffe.com -- plus securing the new sponsor, the park announced it would make a $25,000 dnation to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
GIRAFFE FUN FACTS:
-Once the calf’s hooves appear, labor will be over within 30 to 60 minutes.
-Full grown giraffes can eat more than 100 pounds of leaves a twigs a day.
-Male giraffes are taller and heavier than females.
-The knobs on their heads are called ossicones.
-Giraffes move both legs on one side of their body as they walk.
-They can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.
-Giraffes sleep less than two hours a day.
-Female giraffes can become pregnant at just 5 years old.
-They live up to 25 years in the wild.