There is no kind of viral content like that of a cute animal giving birth, and April the giraffe made headlines in 2017 for her live-streamed labor and delivery. More than one million people watched eagerly for her to give birth, and the zoo even launched a text alert so fans could be right there when the excitement happened. After a second calf in 2019, April has been laid to rest —making fans wonder what happened to her.
April the giraffe became a viral sensation in 2017.
April has been in residence at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, N.Y., since 2015. She was born at Catskill Game Farm in Catskill, N.Y., and relocated to Adirondack Animal Land in 2006 when the farm closed. Shortly after her acquisition by Animal Adventure Park, April became pregnant.
Typical giraffe pregnancies last 15 months, so April became a viral sensation during the gestation period. WIVB says her live video feed was even sponsored by Toys "R" Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, but the logo quickly switched to Babies "R" Us upon the arrival of the calf, a male named Tajiri, the Swahili word for "hope." There was even a GoFundMe page for the giraffe that raised over $135,000 to sponsor a new giraffe exhibit for mother and baby.
After April's first viral pregnancy, she had another calf named Azizi in 2019. The second birth was also live-streamed on the internet, and when he was old enough, Azizi was shipped to The East Texas Zoo and Gator Park. Tragically, it was announced in October 2020 that due to an "unexpected twisted gut around his cranial mesenteric artery," the calf died shortly after his transfer.
What happened to April the giraffe?
Since then, fans have been curious what happened to April, who wasn't foaling any more calves and seemed for all intents and purposes to be peacefully retired at the Animal Adventure Park.
Sadly, in a statement on April 2, 2021, it was revealed April was euthanized at age 20 for advanced osteoarthritis. The condition makes any movement extremely painful, and her quality of life was not as good as it could have been.
Animal Adventure Park announced via their Facebook page that they had euthanized April, saying, "We grieve with her many fans, near and far, as we say goodbye to the giraffe that can be credited with making a foothold for giraffe and giraffe conservation awareness in the 21st century. While her hoofprints in her yard will erode in time, the imprint she has made on the hearts of people around the world will never fade."
CNN reports that April's remains, "[Have] been escorted to the Cornell University Veterinary School for a necropsy ... Following cremation, April's ashes will be returned to the Animal Adventure Park."
Thankfully, April has more than a few calves surviving her, and maybe one of their children will be the next viral internet sensation.
April's viral birth helped bring attention to giraffe population decline, and will hopefully encourage other zoos to do the same.