Giraffe Watch: Still Waiting for April to Give Birth to her Calf
Much of the world seems to be on an extended ‘Giraffe Watch,’ waiting for a reticulated giraffe named April at a New York state animal park to deliver a calf.
A giraffe named April at the Animal Adventure Park in New York could give birth at any moment.
Yes, we’ve heard that line before.
In fact, we’ve heard it for weeks now, since the reticulated giraffe’s due date was mid-February.
So much for guessing delivery dates.
The giraffe has captured the attention of animal lovers of all ages who are too eager to watch April walk around her shelter or even venture outside from time to time. I should mention the giraffe pictured above isn’t April: there’s more than one reticulated giraffe in the world, you know.
She has her own website, ApriltheGiraffe.com, and there’s a webcam that’s streaming every moment of her pregnancy:
Don’t get me wrong: I’m an animal lover. Giraffes have always been something of a curiosity: on the one hand, the evolutionary idea of their long necks is genius since it allows them to eat leaves from the tops of trees; on the other, their height really gets in the way when they want to bend down and drink from a stream.
But I’m looking forward to seeing her calf when it finally comes, and in the meantime, I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would about giraffes.
For example, a giraffe is pregnant for 15 months. For you ladies out there who’ve had children, imagine how much fun it would have been to carry your bundle of joy for an additional six months. If that doesn’t give you at least a little respect for these animals, I don’t know what will.
I also learned male giraffes, which are called bulls, aren’t part of the process of raising a calf. That’s quite a departure from the bald eagles we watched months ago from a Florida nest that was also streamed online from coast to coast: both the mother eagle, Harriet, and the father eagle, M15, shared feeding and babysitting duties for little eaglet E9.
In the world of giraffes, the bull has no time for any of that. They’re apparently only interested in three things: eating, fighting and mating.
And I learned that when the calf is born, it’ll stand about six feet tall.
There’s one more thing I learned, unintentionally, from watching a YouTube video of a previous giraffe birth: it can be a horrifying thing to watch. No, not because of the water breaking or any of that kind of thing. This video showed the start of the delivery, with the calf’s front hooves sticking out of the giraffe mom’s backend. After a while, the edited video showed the head begin to emerge. That was cool to see. A bit later in the video, the calf began to slowly slide out.
Then it happened.
A female giraffe stands about 15 feet tall. I don’t know what the norm for giraffe birth happens to be, but this particular mother was standing as the calf was delivered…which meant the calf dropped about six feet to the ground with a terrible thud and then just laid there unmoving. I thought the poor thing died. The mother, seemingly uninterested for a few minutes (or perhaps she was silently pausing to thank God her 15-month nightmare was over), finally turned around and nudged her baby who then started to stir like everything was normal.
But that drop…I think my heart stopped for a second there.
I hope when April does give birth, she’ll at least lie down. If she doesn’t, at least you’ve been warned.