April the giraffe welcomed a not-so-little bundle of joy Saturday morning after animal lovers devoted weeks to watching and waiting.
The Animal Adventure Park is holding a naming contest for April’s baby.
For about 10 days, you can vote on any name or names you choose for April’s new calf. You even get to decide your own spelling. Come back and vote as many times as you’d like.
After the end of the first part of the contest, the Park will reveal the top ten names. Then you can come back and vote on any of those 10 names.
The second phase of the promotion will last about 5 days.
At the end of voting, the Park will donate funds raised to three different organizations: the Giraffe Conversation Foundation, Ava’s Little Heroes and The Animal Adventure Park to improve animal and guest experiences.
April is one of the most popular residents at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville. Fans have kept up with her for weeks as she anticipated the birth of her fourth calf. April is 15 years old.
After a 16-month gestation period, the wait finally ended with the male calf’s debut in a livestream from the zoo. At the time of the birth, 1.25 million people were watching the livestream. It is the first time a calf has been born in the animal park.
The weight of the newborn is unknown, but a calf at birth is usually about 6 feet tall and weighs a whopping 100 to 150 pounds. Calves start walking about half an hour after birth.
April will raise the calf, with weaning expected to take between six to 10 months. However, the park will not keep the newborn.
Keeping the calf “would lead to incestuous mating and undermine the genetics of the program and species,” the Animal Adventure Park’s website says.
The birth comes at a dire time for giraffes, whose numbers have plummeted over the past three decades — from more than 150,000 to fewer than 100,000, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
Giraffes are in the process of a “silent extinction,” experts reported last year.