You might say that Allysa Swilley is now an ‘aunt.’
That happens to a lot of folks, of course, but in this case, her ‘nephew’ was about five feet, nine inches tall at birth, and weighed around 129 pounds!
Swilley, a zoologist at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, N.Y., has overseen the pregnancy of April the giraffe almost from the first day of April’s conception.
Things went quietly for several months until February, when Animal Adventure Park decided to broadcast a live web cam of April, giving patrons the opportunity to watch her and chart the course of her pregnancy.
April’s video broadcast turned into an international phenomena, as millions of people world wide went to the park’s website to have a look at her and wait in anticipation of her giving birth.
The wait was over around 10 a.m. on Saturday, as April gave birth to her calf.
“It was absolutely phenomenal,” Swilley reported to the Examiner about the event. “Everything has been favorable. The baby is on his feet, and we’re all super excited.”
The male calf has not yet been named. Swilley explained that the public is going to be part of the naming process. Starting on Sunday, April 16, for the next 10 days, people can click on a link at http://www.aprilthegiraffe.com, which will allow them to submit a name for the calf. The top names will be chosen, Swilley explained, and another link will be available for five days in which people can choose what they believe will be the best one. The winning name will be announced shortly afterward.
Swilley said that April is a happy mother who is bonding well with her baby.
“The only thing really different is we don’t allow Oliver in the stall,” Swilley said, referring to the calf’s father. “We don’t think he’s going to deliberately hurt it, but he rambunctious, and in the process of bouncing around he might accidently kick the calf. It’s very important at this point that nothing disruptive occurs that might affect the calf’s development - that everything remains stable.”