HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. -- It's a boy!
Before an online audience of more than a million viewers, April the giraffe gave birth to a male calf Saturday at a New York zoo, ending weeks of proverbial pacing by animal lovers in a virtual worldwide waiting room.
The 15-year-old giraffe delivered her calf shortly before 10 a.m. in an enclosed pen at the zoo in Harpursville, a rural upstate village about 130 miles 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.
The not-so-little calf struggled at first to get onto its feet:
But 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. He began nursing not long after.
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.
Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch said that both mom and calf are doing fine.
Patch said the calf's entrance into the world "was unnerving to even those of us who have witnessed animal births previously."
"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," Patch said in a news release.
This is April's fourth calf, but the first born at Animal Adventure Park. The proud papa, a 5-year-old giraffe named Oliver, watched from an adjacent pen. This is his first offspring.
April has her own website and even an apparel line. 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.
The zoo began streaming live footage of April's pen on Feb. 10, but the feed was briefly banned from YouTube for "nudity and sexual content" two weeks later. It was quickly restored, and has attracted millions of loyal viewers since.
The average giraffe pregnancy lasts about 15 months, the zoo said. The calf was born hooves-first, followed by its snout.
The zoo plans to hold a contest to name the calf.
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