The wait ended this weekend.
After months of watching a very pregnant April the giraffe pace her pen and keep us on edge, her baby has arrived! On April 15, the baby boy was born in the morning at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York.
After days and days of waiting for the big event, upon announcement of the labor alert, the birth itself took mere minutes. Like all giraffes, April gave birth to her child standing up, leading to a 6-foot drop for the newborn. Over 1.2 million people watched the miracle of life live, thanks to the zoo’s ongoing live stream of April.
According to the Associated Press, the male calf was walking within an hour of being born and was prancing alongside his mom just a few hours later.
This is 15-year-old April’s fourth calf, but the first she has had at Animal Adventure Park. The father, who could be seen poking his head through the pen beside April’s, is first-time dad Oliver, who is five years old.
The baby boy, who has not been named, measured 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 129 pounds shortly after birth, reports the zoo. His initial vet checkup showed he is in great help, and he is nursing without issue. Keepers at the zoo have also said that the newborn has developed a very independent attitude in his first few days out of the womb. April is also doing well. She is back to eating normally following the birth and is in great health.
The next order of business, now that the baby is here, is giving him a name. Animal Adventure Park is holding a contest to figure out what the boy’s name should be. For the next 10 or so days, animal lovers can submit names and vote for their favorites on the website made solely for this event. Fans can vote as many times as they would like over this period. After this open call, the top ten names will be posted and everyone can vote for their favorite from the list, with the final choice being revealed a few days later.
While the humans are focusing on a name, April and her calf will be working on bonding. The mother-son pair will be together until the baby is weaned, which can take up to six to ten months. Once the calf no longer needs to nurse, he will be moved to another zoo to prevent incestuous breeding.
The millions of people who have been waiting for this moment can get a peek at April and her long awaited offspring in mid-May, when Animal Adventure Park reopens to the public.