After months of anticipation for one pregnant giraffe and hundreds of thousands of obsessed viewers, April just made good.
“It’s happening!” Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch yelled into a camera from his car about 7:30 Saturday morning. “We are in labor 100 percent!”
At 9:55 a.m . . . an apparently healthy giraffe baby hit the floor in a shower of amniotic fluid and catharsis, as more than 1 million people watched live.
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 it flopped delightfully back to the floor and submitted to a tongue bath from its mother.
We say “it,” not yet knowing if the baby is a he or she, and because it has yet to be named.
If you paid to sign up for Animal Adventure’s text alert system, you can expect to find out the calf’s gender a few seconds before the rest of the world.
And the park plans to hold a baby-naming contest shortly after birth, according to Hollywood Life.
Then we’ll find out if the baby turns out to be more or less popular than its 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 “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.
With the fans came some hand-wringing, as an NPR writer felt compelled to explain why the 24-hour camera wasn’t invading a giraffe’s privacy.
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.
Now, for the rest of a life.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Avi Selk, Lindsey Bever