What to Know
- The April the giraffe live feed is set to go dark Thursday 4:30 p.m. EST.
- Animal Adventure Park staff will be appearing on the 'Giraffe Cam' at this time to say goodbye
- Online, a huge April the giraffe community that formed over the last few months is saying its goodbyes, too
Almost two months after the pregnant New York giraffe named April was catapulted onto the world stage, the live stream that provided a 24-hour window into her world went dark.
Animal Adventure Park's "Giraffe Cam" was turned off at 4:30 p.m. EST Friday.
Keepers at the Harpursville zoo went live on Facebook moments before to thank their viewers for coming with them on the pregnant giraffe ride.
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"Thank you for joining us on this journey, it's certainly not over, it's just the end of the first chapter here," they said.
Since late February, April's daily eating, sleeping, strolling, camera-licking and tail-flicking has been broadcast to a loyal and adoring audience waiting in anticipation to see her deliver her fourth calf.
After a patient wait, the male calf was born last Saturday, to the delight of a global live audience that has sometimes numbered in the tens of millions.
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On Thursday, Animal Adventure Park confirmed on Facebook that the YouTube live feed would be turned off with a small gathering.
It said that early next week the zoo would announce the plan for the camera going forward, including scheduled times when fans could check in on the baby, April and Oliver.
On Facebook, April the Giraffe fans who had found new friends in a community that shared a passion for the long-necked lady said they had mixed emotions.
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In the Facebook group "April Giraffe Friends," which has more than 65,000 members, users posted goodbyes to each other and best wishes to the New York zoo.
"As I am sure today is a hard day for everyone here, some more then others," group member Danielle wrote. "It's going to be hard for me to say goodbye."
Penny, another "April Giraffe Friends" member, wrote that losing the feed was going to break her heart, but she had a message of thanks for the others.
"I can't believe this is coming to an end. I have been watching since February," she posted. "It is in my daily routine to watch April and Oliver and now baby g... I have learned so much and have made good friends from all over the world."
Meanwhile, April's baby had still not been named.
Animal Adventure Park is offering the public a chance to give him one at nameaprilscalf.com, where anyone who wants to vote on a name can do so for $1 per vote. There is a five-vote minimum, and people can vote as many times as they want.
The contest was being held for 10 days, and then a second round of voting, which will be narrowed down to the top 10 names, will be held for five days.
Funds raised will be split between the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Ava's Little Heroes and Animal Adventure Park.
April's little calf stands 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds, Animal Adventure Park reports.
April teased her millions of global adorers for weeks before he was born, showing signs of near-but-not-quite labor and enchanting her audience with cute right-at-the-camera gazes and tongue flicks, snack noshing and nuzzling with her much younger 5-year-old beau.
April's pregnancy was originally catapulted into global headlines in late February after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's live stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of social media users voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so.
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Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch said the natural curiosity surrounding giraffes and their birthing process was a huge factor in drawing crowds.
"I think the fact that she's a giraffe and she's a neat species that people are interested in, that's fostered a lot of the attention," he said. "The fact that you'll get to witness the miracle of birth from an animal that you really don't get to see give birth — that's neat."
He added that April's pregnancy was more than just live entertainment, but a teachable moment and source for education.