April the giraffe continued to wait patiently for the arrival of her fourth calf, as did tens of thousands of people watching a live stream of her pen Thursday morning. But the wait may soon be over.
The now world-famous, long-necked beauty was seen on the live stream as more than 40,000 people watched moving about her pen, sitting up and sitting down throughout the early morning hours. She also appeared to be taking a nap as her neck was stretched all the way around her body.
The zoo live-streaming her pregnancy throughout the world said in its most recent Facebook post that workers continue to monitor her behavior.
"We have noted April's behavior the past hour and are watching closely," the zoo said in its update. "This does not mean we expect immediate changes in situation."
That said, a vet report "suggests we should begin watching for a shift in calf position/and belly carry from low to back. This would suggest movement into place for birthing," the zoo posting said.
Watch the live stream below (NOTE: weather conditions are causing intermittent disruptions).
April has had periods of edginess in recent weeks brought on by stretches of cold weather and her active calf. Nevertheless, April is in “great physical and mental condition,” and the vets who have been monitoring her say they’re pleased with her progress.
April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines late last month after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of commenters voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so.
Jordan Patch, owner of the Animal Adventure Park, says the natural curiosity surrounding giraffes and their birthing process has been 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're gonna 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 is not just live entertainment, but a teachable moment and source for education.
Giraffe pregnancies last up to 15 months. Labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The calf, which will be the first born at Animal Adventure Park, will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour.
The zoo said it will hold an online competition to name the baby giraffe once it's born.