Could a full moon shake things up for April and all of her admiring fans around the world?
The giraffe is still pregnant, but Animal Adventure Park, the upstate New York zoo live-streaming April's pregnancy for millions of curious viewers around the world over the last month and a half, said we're moving in the right direction.
"We have a happy healthy momma and the waiting game continues," Dr. Tim, April's vet, reported on Facebook Monday night.
Following a few days of just standing in the doorway, April has finally gotten outside more. The 15-year-old mom of three, her belly full with the fourth, and Oliver, her 5-year-old beau, had another full day of fun in the sun.
This is a good sign, according to the zoo, as keepers and vets keep a close eye on the pregnant giraffe's activity.
We're still watching, too. And we're not the only ones.
More than 125,000 people were tuned into the live stream before 9 a.m. Tuesday as Oliver paced around in his pen. April was nowhere to be seen, but her door was open, so we could only assume she was getting some fresh air. The zoo confirmed as much in its Facebook update later Tuesday morning. But she was back in her pen by 9:30 a.m., flicking her head and munching on some snacks as she paused to nuzzle with Oliver. Two hours later, April gave the camera some direct love as more than 170,000 adorers watched.
Watch the live stream below.
The zoo has said giraffes pace a lot prior to giving birth, so keepers are looking for that to indicate "active labor." At that point, the baby's front hoofs will be the first to come out, followed by the snout, the zoo says.
Mom will naturally raise the calf on her own, and weaning could take between six to 10 months, maybe even longer -- the zoo says it won't rush the process. Once weaning is over, the baby giraffe will move on to another facility to start a breeding program there.
"We cannot retain offspring, as it would lead to incestuous mating and undermine the genetics of the program and species," the zoo says.
April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines late last month after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of commenters voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so.
Jordan Patch, owner of the Animal Adventure Park, says the natural curiosity surrounding giraffes and their birthing process has been a huge factor in drawing crowds.
"I think the fact that she's a giraffe and she's a neat species that people are interested in, that's fostered a lot of the attention," he said. "The fact that you're gonna get to witness the miracle of birth from an animal that you really don't get to see give birth — that's neat."
He added that April's pregnancy is not just live entertainment, but a teachable moment and source for education. This is the zoo's first giraffe calf.
Giraffe pregnancies last up to 15 months. Labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The calf, which will be the first born at Animal Adventure Park, will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour.
The zoo said it will hold an online competition to name the baby giraffe once it's born.