Giraffe watch: April is in labor! Watch here - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

April the Giraffe

Giraffe watch: April is in labor! Watch here

HARPURSVILLE, NY (RNN) - April is in labor and the baby giraffe is on its way out.

People across the country have been watching the live stream for weeks in anticipation of April's baby being born, and the wait has ended.

The park sent out an alert over its paid first-alert message system around 7:30 a.m. Eastern on Saturday and posted a video to Facebook shortly thereafter of a park employee excitedly driving to the zoo to welcome the baby.

The birth should come sometime Saturday morning. The park has previously said once a giraffe calf starts being born, the process takes about an hour.

The park has been taking criticism for the lengthy wait with several allegations that's it is a hoax or an April Fool's prank. Saturday's birth should alleviate those criticisms.

Friday, April was out enjoying the daylight, as changes to her behavior have stabilized, Animal Adventure Park said.

Everything is going well with April and keepers said things should remain normal for a while.

"The only real drastic changes we will see from here is active labor, no much more change or development can occur," keepers said.

April continues doing great with a light appetite.

Keepers say they don't expect any further physical changes for April and have urged viewers to keep an eye out for behavioral changes, which will provide the first signs of active labor. One of these changes is increased pacing in addition to pushing and contractions.

In previous Facebook posts, keepers chronicled significant developments that led them to believe the birth was nearing.

Keepers continue to stress the fact that "there is no reason for worry about her or the calf's health." April's vet says he's not concerned by the fact that April has not yet given birth, and she will simply have her baby when she is ready.

In an effort to possibly bring about labor, Animal Adventure Park has shifted the giraffes' bedtime to follow the "natural light cycle" of dawn and dusk.

April and Oliver have also been enjoying their new enrichment toys, the park reports.

Animal Adventure Park has set up a text alert system, which will provide updates on the giraffes before and after birth for a small fee.

It's been more than a month since the park shared the news of April's impending birth with the world, via social media. Thousands of fans have kept watch over live webcam footage chronicling April's every move.

April's vet has said there isn't enough data on giraffe pregnancies to determine exactly when April could go into labor. By March 23, the park reported she had become notably slower, saying that April was "in the home stretch" of her pregnancy. 

April's popularity led to a sponsorship from Toys 'R' Us, which has long featured the fictional "Geoffrey the Giraffe" as its mascot. 

"Both Animal Adventure Park and Toys 'R' Us have the common goal of bringing awareness to the plight of the giraffe as well as the need to create a sustainable future for them," the Facebook post stated. "Made possible in part by their sponsorship, Animal Adventure Park will be donating $25,000 to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation!"

Tens of thousands of people have been tuned in for days watching the reticulated giraffe walk around her pen and do very little else, waiting until she has the baby.

The calf will be April's fourth calf and her mate Oliver's first calf.

The little giraffe won't be all that little. At birth it will weigh in at about 150 pounds and will stand at about 6' tall, Animal Adventure Park said.

The feed was earlier removed by YouTube after it was labeled sexually explicit. The park blamed the removal on animal rights activists who oppose zoos.

While April has not yet given birth, the park reported on its Facebook page that it has welcomed three black belly Barbados lambs and twin pygmy goats since the giraffe watch began.

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