Waiting on April: Animal Adventure Park owner answers questions about pregnant giraffe

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HARPURSVILLE, NY-- After weeks of watching, people across the country are wondering: When will April the giraffe give birth?

The short answer: soon.

Jordan Patch, owner of Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, answered a few questions about his web superstar for FOX 8 on Friday.

"Kim Kardashian was said to have broke the Internet a few years ago. I think April the giraffe will break the Internet," Patch laughed.

April was born at the Catskill Game Farm and is about 15 years old. Giraffes live between 19 and 25 years. This is her fourth baby.

Giraffes sleep very little so don't worry about this mama's beauty rest. According to her owner, she only sleeps about 2 hours a day. That's because sleeping for long periods of time makes them vulnerable in the wild.

It's for that same reason signs of labor won't be noticeable. Giraffes hide the process because it would be too easy for lions to pick off a mother and her young. Patch said labor could last two to six hours or a few days, but we're not going to see it all on the web cam.

Basically, we won't know April is giving birth until we see hooves. Within 30 to 60 minutes the calf will be on the ground, and another hour later the little one will be on its feet.

"Imagine a swan dive. That's how the baby comes out. We're going to see those front hooves, then we're going to see those knees, and with the knees comes the snout, the face, the head, the neck, neck, neck, neck, shoulders. Then gravity takes over," Patch said. "It's quite a magic trick" for a 6 foot, 150 pound baby.

Now, what about April's due date?

"We start counting our days and developing a birthing window based on witnessed mating behavior," Patch told FOX 8's Gabe Spiegel. "Just like any other animal in the world, you don't conceive every time you connect."

Patch said April and Oliver first got together in October 2015, putting her due date between mid-January and mid-February of this year.

"Is she late? No. Is she overdue? No. Simply, they didn't conceive the first connection," Patch said.

April's physical condition suggests she is at the end of pregnancy and we should expect a calf anytime, her owner said. There is always someone at Animal Adventure Park with staff members monitoring the live feed.

According to Patch, male giraffes are "dead-beat dads," adding Oliver "doesn't give a hoot" he's about to be a father. He described them as "nomadic bachelors."

Once the calf is born, it will bond with April. The little one will be named through a contest through Animal Adventure Park. Proceeds will go to giraffe conservation, the park itself and Ava's Little Heroes, which is named after Patch's daughter who has medical issues.

April's offspring will eventually be weened and moved to another park for breeding purposes. That helps maintain the genetic integrity of giraffes.

"I do jokingly say when asked if we'll do another live cam again, I joke no. That's not true because honestly, we've had a major success, not for the park only, but for giraffes. The whole goal of our park is an interactive educational facility and this web cam has provided that by a world-wide platform. People all over the world are now talking about giraffes, they're talking about their plight in the wild, they're talking about preservation," Patch said.

He said the park has received hundreds of messages of support and concern, adding most people's hearts are in the right place. They are ready for the calf.

"We have to ask the world to be patient," Patch said. "Sit tight, relax and let Mother Nature take over. When we try to force deadlines and all these man-made constraints on them, that leads to frustration. Don't get frustrated. Don't turn this into something ugly. Be patient. Enjoy it. It's the miracle of life."

More stories on April the pregnant giraffe here

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Animal Adventure Park

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