Have you ever gone to the zoo, or some type of safari park, and then all of a sudden you had to look up. Why, because strolling by in their lumbering fashion is the a long necked thing of beauty, the Giraffe. Most Giraffes aren’t famous for what they have done, but April is special for what she is about to do.
April is a 15 year old giraffe that lives in the Animal Adventure Park in Binghamton, NY. What makes April so special is that she is about to become a mother. This is a fourth birth for April, and a first for the Park. In natural habitats, a giraffes’ life span is about 15 years. However when in human care that can extend to 20-27 years old. Considering her strong condition,April should have have no problem reaching the maximum life span, and possibly having more calves in the future. April has been with Animal Adventure Park since September 2015 and this is her first calf birth at the park. Once her calf is born and she is done nursing it, he or she will move on to another facility as it’s rare to keep family members together with fear of incest.
A lot of experts are speculating on how long April has been in labor and if she’s actually contracting. It’s not very likely that you will be able to tell the exact moment of April’s labor until you can actually see a hoof begin to emerge. Giraffe’s instinctively hide their labor for however long it’s lasting in order to not draw attention from predators who will wait out a giraffe’s labor in order to attack once the calf is born. One sign of active labor is when the giraffe’s water breaks. It can be anywhere from a slow trickle of liquid to a flow of mucus.
A live video feed of April is currently being run at Animal Adventure Park. The park is in its off-season so it is closed to visitors. People who’ve visited the park in previous months knew of April’s pregnancy and the park has been receiving inquiries about her giving birth. Animal Adventure felt this would be a good way for those April fans to follow along and stay updated.
Oliver the giraffe will be the new father and he is kept separate from April. Male giraffes instinctively care about three things – mating, fighting and eating. Oliver is only allowed inside with April a little at a time and under close supervision. Otherwise, he could be a danger to April and her calf by either fighting her, attempting to mate with her or eating her food. So he’s only allowed to be a supportive father from a distance. Male giraffes also are not part of the child rearing process.
April and Oliver sharing some hay.
Other interesting things you might want to know.
April has never lost a calf nor had a stillborn.
Oliver is 5 and this is his 1st calf.
The park has some of the largest pens in the nation (sq. ft per animal). We take pride in our indoor housing and the level of enrichment and care to keep them happy and healthy.
The calf will weigh around 150 lb. and will be about 6′ tall at birth.
The front hooves will come out first followed by the snout.
Mom will naturally raise the calf, with weaning could take between 6-10 months, maybe longer. We will not rush this process – it is just a documented range of captive weaning.
Once the calf is born the park will have a contest to name it.
The keepers will go in with April, clean her pen, give her treats (but not Oliver)
Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months
Upon naturally weaning, the calf 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.
Those “protruding bumps” on their heads are called ossicones.
Oliver may share space with April, but for short periods. Bulls take no part in rearing young.
They eat hay and 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 is Animal Adventure’s first giraffe calf.