April the giraffe is keeping vets on their toes, they say, hinting the pregnant creature is finally nearing a now globally anticipated meeting with her fourth calf.
According to the most recent Facebook post by Animal Adventure Park, the zoo live-streaming April's pregnancy, a keeper reports increased swelling in the pregnant giraffe's backend and "significant baby kicks from within."
As for when she'll deliver, only time will tell, the zoo says.
"Vet reports all is well and no reason for concern," the Thursday night post said. "April is posturing quite a bit which is keeping us on our toes! We will see what the weekend brings."
Watch the live stream below (NOTE: weather conditions may cause intermittent disruptions).
The zoo said most of the day Thursday was spent digging paths for keepers to access exhibits, for animals to access watering stations and more yard space, and clearing roadways for fuel deliveries.
More than 65,000 people were watching April as the sun rose Friday morning, illuminating her hay-laden pen with streaky golden rays. Her 5-year-old mate, Oliver, was seen sitting calmly in his pen across the way as April peered in some unseen direction, her back to the camera.
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.