New York gi­raffe has calf be­fore 1.2 mil­lion on­line

The Commercial Appeal - - Nation -

HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. - And baby makes glee. 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. EDT 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. 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 An­i­mal Ad­ven­ture Park’s first gi­raffe calf. The proud papa, a 5-year-old gi­raffe named Oliver, watched from an ad­ja­cent pen. This is his first off­spring.

The pri­vately owned zoo be­gan livestream­ing from April’s en­clo­sure in Fe­bru­ary. Peo­ple around the world have been tun­ing in daily.

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.

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