April the giraffe has captured the attention of the world with more than 1.2 million people watching the labour of her newborn calf via live video streaming.
The 15-year-old giraffe gave birth to a male calf at about 10am on Easter Saturday at a privately owned zoo in Harpursville, a rural upstate village about 200 kilometres north-west of New York City.
A large viewing audience watched April’s labour on the Adventure Park’s YouTube stream and mother and son are due to welcome visitors next month.
The calf stood up on its precariously long legs with the guidance of its mother only 45 minutes after it was born and began to nurse not long after.
The long-legged bub is the fourth calf for the mother, while the father ‘Oliver’, who watched the birth from the pen next door, is a first-time father at the age of five.
April was due to give birth in January or February, but her pregnancy lasted 16 months. Giraffes have one of the longest gestation periods of any animal, averaging 15 months.
Close to 40,000 people have followed April the Giraffe’s pregnancy on social media, including her food cravings.
The zoo’s owner, Jordan Patch, said both mother and calf were doing well.
He said the newborn calf would stay with April until he was weaned at about six months old and moved to another zoo.
The weight and height of the calf have yet to be released, but newborn giraffes are as large as an adult man, generally weighting 68 kilograms and six feet or 1.8 metres tall.
The zoo has announced a public competition to name April’s calf, with votes going for $1 each.
— April The Giraffe (@AprilTheGiraffe) April 15, 2017