I cannot explain it, but for a couple of hours this morning I was mesmerized by April the giraffe who finally gave birth to her calf. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. An estimated 1.2 million folks were tuned in to see April finally present her special package at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY.
I wasn’t an April follower. I was aware of the hype surrounding April’s pending birthing which was streamed live for months. She was expected to birth between mid-January and mid-February, but the “no show” show continued until this morning.
My granddaughter posted this morning it was April’s time, so I decided to peek in at nature in action. When I tuned it there were two hoofs dangling out of April as she paced around her pen. Every once in a while she would stop, her abdomen would contract, and the hoofs slid out a little more. Figuring the birth would be at any moment, I keep the stream open, watching for about a half hour before setting up the phone next to the computer so I could do some work. About an hour or so later, it was show time. Out came the head, then shoulders and in a final push the rest of the calf — for want of a better word — plopped from mother to ground. I even found myself yelling words of encouragement at the screen and at the final push screamed, “Way to go April. You did it!”
At first, the calf just laid there motionless while mom started cleaning and stimulating the youngun. Finally, the long neck stretched upwards and for the next 20 minutes of so, the baby — as confused and overwhelmed as any newborn — tried to get the legs to work in sync. Eventually, instinct kicked in and the calf was on all fours looking for his/her first meal from mom.
Toys R Us, which features a giraffe as its mascot, was a sponsor of the live feed and it was cool to see the logo switch to Babies R Us after the birth. It was a nice touch.
There has been no determination whether the calf is male or female, but Animal Adventure Park has announced it will conduct a naming contest for the calf.
Now, I don’t usually get involved in these natural events, although a few weeks ago I was hooked at an Australian Facebook/FMF friend’s capture of the birth of a new lamb on the farm. I similarly followed the days leading up to the birth of the lamb, culminating with the big event.
In both cases, the actual birth was not pretty. They can be kind of messy and by human standards a bit gross. But they are still miracles. Mothering instincts are the same regardless of species. And new life is always precious … whether it’s a child, a lamb or a calf.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: It’s better to start slow and finish fast than to launch out of the gate and crawl across the finish line.