April the giraffe: Veterinarian says she “just isn’t quite ready to give the world what it wants”
NEW YORK — We’re all still waiting for April the giraffe to deliver her calf, but now that the month of April has arrived, there’s a new text alert system available to those interested in the latest updates.
April’s handlers said Sunday evening, April 2nd “keepers continue to report the same physical and behavioral observations.”
On Sunday morning, zoo officials said they hoped some “yard time” Sunday would “shake things up,” but while Oliver did enjoy some time outside, April chose to enjoy the sunshine and air from her doorway.
On Sunday evening, April’s handlers shared an update from Dr. Tim, April’s veterinarians, who answered some questions:
“So the timeline for my 24-48 hour prediction is rapidly coming to an end. Not surprising is the fact that we still have no calf and we still don’t have a giraffe in labor! Pretty much all of her clinical signs from a couple days ago are still true. She just isn’t quite ready to give the world what it wants.
To answer a few question I have seen on the web in various places: no, she isn’t late. No, she isn’t overdue. No, I’m not concerned she is “taking so long,” nor should you be. Yes — she remains happy and comfortable (considering the circumstances). Yes, she will have this calf when she is good and ready. No, public outcry won’t change that. No, I cannot induce her, nor should we want to — those are human constructs which don’t apply to large wild animals and only endanger the life of April and her calf. Yes, it will be awesome when the calf arrives. No, watching after April is not my only job. Yes, we have been watching her for a very long time. Enjoy the <free> show people. Get more popcorn.
You all know how much I love to be wrong about my predictions, but such is life. I’ll keep all posted and will let you know when the baby is on its way. It really shouldn’t be much longer, I’m just not going to tell you my guesstimate anymore.
There you have it! It’s a matter of time! We watch and wait…still.”
April’s handlers said Sunday morning they were seeing “increased discharge, continued lack of interest in food, and full udders.” They reported that April “continues to be a bit out of character.”
April’s handlers at Animal Adventure Park in New York said Saturday evening, April 1st they were “hoping for an April Fools baby,” but “April’s relaxed nature and lack of urgency” had zookeepers anticipating midnight would hit before April would welcome her calf.
Zookeepers said Saturday evening: “April continues to ignore her grain, zones in and out of awareness, exhibits soft contraction indications, and is even producing manure size and consistency hinting of a birth — though we are not yet in what we will call ‘active labor.’ Our big girl is comfortable, confident, and continues to keep her composure — better than the rest of us!”
As for the zoo’s new text alert system, you can sign up to receive immediate updates and exclusive content from labor through May 31st. According to zoo officials, this will be your first line for updates from labor, to first steps, to first day outside, and more.
CLICK HERE to subscribe.
Below are some things to know about April, courtesy Animal Adventure Park:
April is 15. This will be her fourth calf. April has never lost a calf nor had a stillborn. Oliver, April’s partner is five. This will be his first calf.
The giraffes have some of the biggest pens in the nation (square foot per animal). Animal Adventure Park takes pride in their indoor housing and the level of enrichment and care to keep the giraffes happy and healthy.
The calf will weigh around 150 pounds and will be about 6 feet tall at birth. The front hooves will come out first followed by the snout.
Mom will naturally raise the calf. Weaning could take between 6-10 months, maybe longer. Animal Adventure Park officials will not rush this process. It is just a documented range of captive weaning.
Once the calf is born, there will be a contest to name it.
The keepers will go in with April occasionally to clean her pen and give her treats (but not Oliver). He is a bull – and a bull is a bull is a bull, officials said.
Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months.
Upon naturally weaning, the calf will move on to another facility to start a breeding program there. Animal Adventure Park officials cannot retain offspring, as it would lead to incestuous mating and undermine the genetics of the program and species.
Those “things” on their heads are called ossicones.
Bulls (male giraffes) only really care about two things — fighting and “the unmentionable.” Oliver may share space with April, but for short periods. Bulls take no part in rearing young.
The giraffes eat hay and a specialized giraffe diet, but love romaine lettuce and carrot treats.
April’s water source, enrichment, and solo hay feeder are out of sight of the camera view.
This will be Animal Adventure Park’s first giraffe calf.