A 15-year-old giraffe kept in a US zoo has given birth to a male calf - an event followed by Internet users around the world. The birth of April's baby was broadcast live to an online audience of over a million people.
Billed as an Easter weekend sensation and sponsored by Toys"R"Us, a giraffe named April gave birth to a male calf at a zoo in New York State on Saturday. The 15-year-old giraffe delivered her young just before 10 a.m. local time (1400 UTC) on April 15.
The birth lasted two hours, and was shown live on YouTube. Zoo owner Jordan Patch drew the attention of his global following to the crucial moment on Facebook, saying: "Everybody are you watching? It's happening. The labor alert has gone out."
About 45 minutes after he was born, the calf managed to stand on his legs for the first time despite the fact that the healthy calf was at least one month overdue.
The newborn is April's fourth offspring. The 6-foot-tall (1.83-meter) calf is estimated to weigh as much as 150 pounds (68 kg).
A controversial giraffe
Fans of April waited for the baby throughout the 16-month gestation period at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York State. Some viewers had previously complained that the content was "sexually explicit," resulting in YouTube briefly taking down the live stream in February. The feed was restored after Jordan Patch argued that it had educational value.
Like Patch, giraffe mom April also appears to be internet savvy. The longneck has her own Twitter account and website, and has managed to raise $125,000 (118,000 euros) on her GoFundMe fundraiser page, which is intended to be used for the care of the animals.
ss/jm (AP, AFP, Reuters)