Excitement surrounding the imminent birth of a baby giraffe grows by the hour.
A live video stream has captured the attention of thousands carefully inspecting the expectant mother giraffe, April's every move inside the barn at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville.
On Jan. 27, a Facebook post by the park indicating mammary development — the final stage in the giraffe's pregnany — had begun reached 317,000 people and its accompanying video was viewed 47,000 times.
Since then, audiences have been captivated by the park's giraffe cam.
"It's crazy," park owner Jordan Patch said of the attention. "It's overwhelming."
Patch said this will be the fourth or fifth calf — expected to be 6 feet tall and 150 pounds — for April, 15, and the first for Oliver, 5, who was the park's first giraffe when he arrived in 2015.
The video stream's chat window has served as a portal for updates as well as education, which supports the mission of the park, Patch said.
"People are following from all over the world," he said. "It's an excellent educational tool."
Wondering what the new baby's name will be? A contest will be launched after the birth. Anyone interested in casting a vote for a name will have the opportunity to nominate it for $1 on a GoFundMe page. Money raised will be divided between giraffe conservation in the wild, giraffe care at Animal Adventure and Ava's Little Heroes annual fundraiser. Six will be selected for a social media naming contest.
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