As tens of millions of fans across the globe await the most-anticipated giraffe birth in recent memory -- or ever -- the upstate New York zoo home to the now-famous April says her adorers may not have to wait much longer.
"What many are calling an omen of the impending birth; the face and neck of a young giraffe appeared in the bedding this afternoon," the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville wrote in its Facebook update Sunday night. "Pretty neat if you ask us!"
The keepers said there's been a "significant amount of belly movement and tail raising" lately from April but that her appetite is "notably strong" and she is still in good health as the birth approaches.
Watch the live stream below:
The giraffe did get a bit spooked by the kicking calf over the weekend, but keepers reported Monday morning she was in better spirits.
"We completely understand her swings!" the zoo wrote in its daily Facebook update. "She is a big girl and getting bigger. Vet report is all positive and happy with progression."
The mom-to-be has grown significantly, visible in comparative photos from a week ago show. Wax caps are still present, though her back left teat appears to be shedding.
A photo posted to the zoo's facebook page Saturday showed April's rotund belly curving out and downward, a sign that she's nearing the home stretch of her pregnancy, says owner Jordan Patch.
"She's progressing well in her pregnancy," he said. "She's not in any pain, things are good."
More than 50,000 people tuned in to watch the gentle giant Monday morning as she peered over the dividing fence to catch a glimpse of her mate, Oliver, who paced around his pen. The long-necked lovers were seen interacting over his pen for a few moments.
April has captivated tens of millions of people across the world who have been checking in on her via the live stream in anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf. Patch 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.
April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines late last month after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's live 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.
Giraffe pregnancies last for 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.