April the giraffe’s newborn calf is nursing strongly and his mother is recovering “perfectly,” officials with Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, said Sunday after a morning checkup from a veterinarian.
April gave birth to a healthy male calf Saturday at the privately-owned Animal Adventure Park before an online audience of more than a million viewers. Anticipation had been growing as the park live-streamed video of April in the months leading up to the birth.
The day-old giraffe stands 5 feet 9 inches tall. Park officials say he weighed in at 129 pounds on Sunday, noting that there was a bit of a weight drop in the first 24 hours.
The calf does not have a name yet. The animal park is holding a contest on its website for people to suggest and vote for their favorite names. It costs $1 per vote, with proceeds going to help the animals and local children.
As for the new mom, “April has recovered perfectly and is eating everything in sight!” the team posted on its official Facebook page.
Seconds after birth, April tenderly licked her calf, which began to slowly pick his head up from the floor of the pen. About 45 minutes after he was born, he stood on wobbly legs while mom helped keep him steady.
At least 1.2 million people watched the Adventure Park’s YouTube streaming of the event.
Zoo owner Jordan Patch called the birth “unnerving” to watch. “Giraffes give birth standing up, which means when the calf is ready to be born, it exits its mother hooves first from six feet off the floor, making for a very exciting event,” he said in a news release.
The newborn is April’s fourth, but the Animal Adventure Park’s first giraffe calf. Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months on average. The proud papa, a 5-year-old giraffe named Oliver, watched from an adjacent pen. This is his first offspring.
The zoo began livestreaming from April’s enclosure in February. People around the world have been tuning in daily, with some growing impatient as the pregnancy seemed to drag on.
A Farmington, New Hampshire, songwriter even posted a music video on YouTube called, “I’m Going Crazy Waiting (For A Giraffe).”
April has her own website and even an apparel line. A GoFundMe fundraising page that initially set a goal of $50,000 sat at more than $134,000 by Saturday night. The money will be used for the care of the animals.
Animal Adventure Park, located in a rural area about 170 miles northwest of New York City, is currently closed to the public and will reopen in mid-May.