April the Recently Pregnant Giraffe: Congratulations to April, Oliver and Animal Adventure Park
by Lynn Stacy-Smith
Today started like any other, with Jackson and Tinkerbell giving me their Labrador wake up call at 6 a.m. As a lifelong dog owner who is not an early morning type person, I have mastered the art of tending to my dogs and then going back to sleep if my schedule permits. This morning I was ready to curl up on the sofa and get a few more hours of sleep when I checked my Facebook news feed and saw the words, “I see a hoof!” in the April the Pregnant Giraffe group that I joined a few weeks ago. I immediately brought up the live feed on YouTube and saw for myself a single hoof and a few inches of baby giraffe leg protruding from April’s back-end.
Five hours later I am still watching as April and Oliver’s baby stands protected by his mother, looking around their stall at the Animal Adventure Park in Binghamton, New York as she continues to clean him/her. Thanks to the Facebook Live posts that the park streamed, viewers had an incredible up close view of the entire process, from the excitement over the second hoof, then the head, and then finally the baby’s fall to the ground and first movements. Click here for their video.
I have watched other videos of giraffe births since I started watching April’s webcam, but watching this live as it was happening to a giraffe who millions of us have watched for nearly two months, was incredible. To many of us it feels like we have gotten to know April, with her beautiful soft expression and silly hay showers. We tense up watching her try to lay down with a hundred and fifty pound, six-foot tall baby inside of her body. We have made up silly humanized conversations between April and Oliver when they meet at the wall. We have set our schedules by her pre-bedtime lettuce and carrots in front of the camera. We have fallen in love with this beautiful giraffe.
Watching April’s maternal instinct kick in and the immediate love for her baby is a perfect depiction of the mother’s love that I write about so frequently in the animal world and something that will stay with me for a long time. To me it is that mother’s love that should tell every single human being that animals are sentient beings with feelings and emotions and that it is our responsibility to be kind to them, to be humane to them, and to treat them with respect and dignity.
I realized last week that as I’ve had April’s webcam up for large portions of the day while I am working and doing other things, I do not have on the news as much, I am not reading the trending news stories as much, and my stress level is way down. I talked about this in my previous blogs April the Pregnant Giraffe: Why We Love Her So Much and April the Pregnant Giraffe: The Love Continues, but I cannot say it enough, that there has been something so soothing and relaxing about watching her.
Of course we cannot put our heads in the sand (that behavior is for egg laying creatures) and ignore the world around us or the very serious matters that make up day-to-day life, but this certainly has been a nice break from the tension of the last few years in our world. Not to mention my giraffe obsessed friends may not believe in the same politics that I do, may not have voted for the same people, but we are once again united as animal lovers, which is why many of us became friends in the first place.
Thank you once again to owner Jordan Patch and his team at Animal Adventure Park for sharing this incredible journey. I personally hope that the webcam can stay up so we can continue to be part of this giraffe family’s life. I also hope to make a visit out there to meet this sweet mama and her baby in person and support the entrepreneurial dreams of the owner and his family. In the meantime, make sure you shop their online giraffe store, I cannot wait to get the April’s View Crew shirt that I ordered! I am not an affiliate or associated with them in any way, I simply want to see them succeed in every way because of their love of animals.