UPDATE: 04.02.17: April the Giraffe's followers can now sign up for text alerts on her progress.
UPDATE 04.01.17: From April the Giraffe's Facebook page: "Keepers and Vet have been on site - report is that April continues to be out of normal behavior and show signs of contractions. We are not announcing active labor at this time - as we will wait until there is NO QUESTION - to ensure our followers know to hunker down and wait!"
Last night they posted, "It looks like we will have an April Fools baby! Who could have ever predicted this, unfolding as it has. The perfect ending. April - waited for April!"
Live stream video with live commenting added is here.
Giraffes do not show signs of labor because in the wild, this would make them vulnerable. Sometimes the first obvious visual signs are the breaking of the water or even a set of front hooves emerging from the birth canal. However, April's veterinarian report which was also posted last night, follows:
"Here are the signs that I'm happy to be seeing: significant changes to her "back end" including vulvar swelling, laxity and a thick, gooey discharge. Mammary development including milk let-down and some occasional dripping. Her behavior has changed drastically from yesterday to today. She is less engaging, hesitant to eat her feed (and treats) and unresponsive to a lot of various stimuli. You will also see her do a few things including standing and staring off into space as well as stretching her neck and back legs. If you watch carefully you will see her abdominal wall tense up during those episodes. You'll also see a lot more squinting and just odd behavior. Also important to note is the amount and size of her fecal output. Everything she is doing is surely pointing to her going into labor soon. - Not much has changed from the morning but I suspect she will go quickly."
April is a 15-year-old pregnant giraffe at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY. She's been an internet sensation since OpEdNews posted the first article in February when birth seemed immanent and a live cam went up. The live feed has had 15 million views on YouTube with over 100,000 viewers at times.
The park notes, "Many of our animal ambassadors are from rescue situations & surrenders! Ask our staff, we would love to share their story with you!"
As giraffe gestation is 15 months, and since the exact time of fertilization may not be known, it's hard to pinpoint a delivery date. As March moved along, it began to appear that April could be waiting to calve til, well, April.
On Friday morning, March 31, her keepers noted:
The staff have been onsite with April all morning, Dr Tim was called and onsite within minutes. All observations, behavior, and predictions suggest a calf today, tonight - we would be shocked to get through the weekend without our newest addition.
At birth, the calf emerges front feet first, then its head is born, and it drops about six feet to the ground, which serves the purposes of severing the umbilical cord and encouraging the newborn to breathe. The calf will typically begin to stand and walk within minutes of being born, and may be running by the end of the day!