March 21, 2017

Giraffe Watch 2017

It began innocently enough with April and Oliver, a pair of Reticulated Giraffes, who reside at Animal Adventure Park (AAP), Harpursville, New York. They met they mated and 15 months later the world waited. And waited, and waited. I guess you can see where this is going.  It was not the park who started this world wide lesson in patience, it was the media who stated that April was in labor and giving birth very soon.  After the initial feed on AAP's YouTube was reported for Nudity and Sexually Explicit material, subsequently taken down and then put back up, the story made headlines, and  April Watch/Giraffe Watch 2017 Began!!

Since the media, April,her ever expanding belly, Oliver, and the park staff, now have mine and millions of others attention,  it was time to become an "expert" in giraffes and giraffe labor.  Millions, took to the internet, YouTube, and Google, in search of information. A lot of people got the wrong information, due to TROLLS (spreading false rumors), news about other giraffes at other parks getting confused with news about April, and fake YouTube channels.  AAP started to educate the public more through daily updates, Live Facebook Q&A Sessions, and YouTube SuperChat sessions. This of course just gave us more to watch and further our April addiction.  April even has her own website, Giraffemojis, and T-shirts (which is sometimes down for processing orders).

The basic facts as given by AAP (Information can be found on the AAP Facebook Page) are as follows: April is a 15 year old Reticulated giraffe, Oliver, her current mate is a five year old male (April you cougar, you). They met, listened to Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On" (OK, I added that part) and conceived sometime in October of 2015. Yep, giraffes are pregnant 15 months. She is due sometime in the near future, with no specific due date, just an estimate based on when AAP staff witnessed their nooky sessions, of which there were a couple. So, here we are waiting for the birth of April and Oliver's love calf.  The only sure thing is, that she will give birth, and it will be sometime in the near future, near being a loose term.

Now, April is famous for being the giraffe who is holding the world hostage, so to speak, while Erin Dietrich, became famous for her portrayal of April in a parody video that went viral (Original Video). In the video Erin who at the time was nine months pregnant, wore a rubber ( I assume) mask of a giraffes head and walked, exercised, rested, did a little dance,  and stood around, showing off her own baby bump, much like April does throughout the day.

Erin gave birth to a son a few days later, again making the news. She even took her giraffe mask to the hospital so that she could show off her son to the world as "April"

There are even dozens of Facebook groups dedicated to April, as well as #Teams. The three main teams are #TeamEgg, #GiraffeWatch and  #AprilsViewCrew. #TeamEgg began with viewers who had also watched E9 a bald eagle hatch on another live cam, making a comment jokingly about April hatching an egg.  It simply took off from there, with jokes about eggs and egg puns.  #AprilsViewCrew is the opposing team who state that she is giving birth to a mammal, they don't hatch, and usually don't like people making jokes about eggs.  AAP has t-shirts in their online store for both teams, as well as other April merchandise.  #TeamEgg  simply are trying to pass the extensive amount of time dedicated to watching April. I even drew my own #TeamEgg inspired artwork.
#TeamEgg and #AprilsViewCrew have even been mentioned in the news as well., wrote an article that says the #TeamEgg people are trolls, while they might be technically trolls, they also admit it is just in fun, and they do know she is giving birth to a calf not an egg. The members of #TeamEgg are often the ones to answer questions and try to keep the atmosphere light, and fun. 

I have been watching since February 22, 2017 and I often go on to Tampa Bay 13 Facebook Page and watch the live feed there, as well as to chat with other stalkers like myself. Jordan (NOT Jordan Patch, Owner of the park) and Melisa Deland are just a couple of fellow stalkers that have shared with me their experiences watching April.

Melisa Deland wrote, "Going back to February 23rd, a typical day and "Live Giraffe Birth" comes across my Facebook news feed. Oh, cool, I think as I believe I am about to witness a giraffe give birth, live and at any moment. Today, 3 weeks later and the whole world, including myself are still patiently waiting and watching! Each day that passes becomes more exciting. I find myself researching, checking in more often and even losing sleep in fear of missing the birth. Many sleepless nights, sleepy eyed and fearful to sign off because at this point, you want to watch it live. I have become, like others, a "Giraffeaholic!" The chat rooms become familiar now, recognizing strangers from all around the world who you have spent numerous hours watching and chatting with. Familiar names greeting you as you sign on or comment…It has become a virtual family-Aprils (and Oliver's) virtual family! And there was #teamegg, which I proudly joined, they make the wait funny and informative! They have helped keep the chat humorous and fun. The experience of this has been nothing but truly amazing! One month ago, if asked if I would spend so much time staring at a giraffes behind I would laugh, thinking there's just no way, not possible.. But here I am! Two and a half giraffes have brought the world together! I am excited that this animal park is only less than two hours away and cannot wait to make a family day trip there this summer!! Until then, I wait… 

Jordan, the creator of a Facebook group in support of #TeamEgg, wrote, "I have enjoyed meeting all of these new people that are as equally interested in this is as I am. Once I created TeamEgg, more and more people just joined. And it was really so amazing how a live feed of a pregnant giraffe, could bring together so many people!! It really is just so amazing to me, and has hands down been the best and most enjoyable thing to happen through April's pregnancy. The most unusual place I checked up on April, would have to be in the line to check out, at the grocery store. I just couldn't wait! " She (Jordan) has been watching since February 22 and like a lot of people including myself started watching because the news kept popping up on Facebook. "I've become a bit less shy. Talking to other people with similar interests has really made me more open and outgoing. The only thing I would like to say, it thank you to every person that has made this such a memorable experience. Go TeamEgg!!" says, Jordan.

During the Daytona 500 many viewers said that they simply put April on one screen while having the 500 on another,

 and during the Oscars many said they would simply rather watch April rather than celebrities that used the Oscars as their own political platform.

I have seen many a viewer comment over lost sleep, late dinners (when they didn't just order take-out), unfolded laundry, and neglected husbands and housework. Still others say it has been a good family experience, with children and grandparents spending time together while viewing, parents watching with children. Some have even said they checked up on April while at church, children's sports functions, and even while in labor themselves. The whole world is having babies left and right, and April still has us waiting. Two other giraffes have given birth quietly, and without much ado.
Then you have husbands/boyfriends playing jokes on April fans who dared to leave the room to make dinner, visit the bathroom, or catch up on house hold chores, by telling them that they were either missing the birth/ or had missed it completely only to rush back in the room, sometimes stubbing toes, or banging shins on stairs in our haste, only to be laughed at upon entering the room and  told they were just joking with us, she is still just standing there eating. Man, can April pack away some food!!
I did not think that was very funny Shawn (my boyfriend, who often asks if April has had the baby even though he pretends to not care)

While the whole world waits, some patiently and others not so patiently (some even asking why they don't do a C-section, or induce) one thing is certain, we are all in this together, and we will keep waiting until we April's baby. It has brought some much needed calm to the everyday life of millions of viewers.

I still find it funny when new viewers freak out every time she lifts her tail. The chat fills up with comments like, ITS TIME!!, SHE'S PUSHING!!, SHE IS GIVING BIRTH!!, and the rest of us stalkers are giggling to ourselves, because we know its just POO!!! Sometimes its PEE!!!. Just like the comments from others who ask if she has had her baby yet. I want to answer, "Yes, she has had her baby, but it's invisible except to the people who were here to watch her give birth".

I even made some memes to go with some of the comments I have seen. These were posted on a previous post, but I will post them again.

 I don't know about the rest of you stalkers, but until I see a hoof sticking out of her hoo ha, I am just going to relax and watch April give herself hay showers and Oliver pace his enclosure like other expectant fathers do, except Oliver just wants to play and be the bull that he is.

I want to give a shout out to the people who made this possible, besides April and Oliver of course, but to the owner and great staff at Animal Adventure Park. Keep up the great work, and your efforts to conservation.

Thanks also to Melisa and Jordan for contributing to this blog post. Much thanks. 

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