The payoff after weeks of anticipation for those addicted to April’s live stream began about 7:30 a.m. — with Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch yelling into a camera from his car: “We are in labor 100 percent!”
There had been false starts before, but not far away in a pen in Upstate New York, two hoofs were peeking out of April’s backside.
Half an hour later, the not-so-tiny infant took its first wobbly steps across a pen that’s been live-streamed 24 hours a day for nearly two months.
Then we’ll find out if this boy turns out to be more or less popular than his mom — an admittedly tough act to follow.
This is April’s fourth pregnancy, and it was not much different from the previous three until February, when someone reported her live feed to YouTube for “sexually explicit” content.
YouTube briefly took the feed down. It became ultra-popular after being restored, with people tuning in for hours at a time to avoid any chance of missing a birth that was expected first in March, then early April.
April’s popularity didn’t go unnoticed. In March, Toys ‘R’ Us started sponsoring the feed and has its logo on the stream, according to Forbes. Animal Adventure Park even has an online destination that sells April the giraffe merchandise, including totes, T-shirts and onsies.
The park started a GoFundMe campaign in late February, stating that “funds generated will be used to offset their annual care at our facility. Anything generated, above and beyond the goal, will be dedicated to improvements of the new Giraffe Encounter Deck,” according to the page.
The phenomenon was a mystery to some, as April spent most of this time doing very little.
And yet, as one viewer wrote on Facebook: “I’m malnourished and dehydrated … my dog is turning fat because I just can’t stop watching and he’s being neglected … Please April for my own sanity have this baby soon.”
The sensation took a weird turn when park staff prematurely said they expected a birth on the weekend of April 1.
This led first to a rash of April Fools’ Day-themed conspiracy theories and jokes.
And then, when the weekend passed with no baby, it led to yet more waiting.
And then it was over. April shook up her routine in her final hours of labor watch — occasionally licking the camera lens that made her famous.
She wandered around her pen with an extra set of hoofs for more than an hour. But once the tip of her baby’s nose emerged, the birth was over quickly.
Now, for the rest of a life.
This post has been updated.