April, the online star giraffe dies | New York News
HARPURSVILLE, NY (AP) – April, the giraffe that became a sensation when a rural New York zoo streamed its pregnancy and delivery live in 2017, was euthanized on Friday from progressive arthritis, the zoo said.
“She is a precious member of our family, and while we knew that day would come, our hearts ache,” said Jordan Patch, owner of Animal Adventure Park, in a statement.
The 20-year-old giraffe showed signs of mobility problems last summer and veterinary imaging showed she had arthritis in her feet and problems in her left hind leg, the zoo’s vets said in a statement. They found that animals as large as giraffes can deteriorate quickly due to arthritis.
They said they used joint supplements, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, cushioned floors, diet changes, and hoof trimming in April to slow the progression of the disease, but her mobility continued to decline and she spent much more time lying down. The March imaging showed “significant and progressive degeneration” of the joints in her lower leg, the vets said.
“The severity of their condition exceeded our ability to control comfort in April,” they said.
Giraffe life expectancy statistics vary. A zoo giraffe from Knoxville, Tennessee, believed to be the nation’s oldest, was euthanized in 2019 at the age of 31.
April drew a huge online audience when she carried her fourth calf at the private zoo in Harpursville, a village about 209 kilometers northwest of New York City, in 2017. At least at that time, the giraffe camera became the second most frequent live stream in YouTube history, with more than 232 million views and 7.6 billion minutes of live watch time over several months.
At least 1.2 million people watched the male calf, eventually called Tajiri, be born in April.
An online fundraiser raised more than $ 150,000 to care for April, her mate, and the calf. Other projects – including a Toys ‘R’ Us sponsorship of the YouTube stream, monetized text messaging, and a clothing line – also brought money to the zoo. The owners said it would be used to maintain the zoo, protect African wildlife and local children at unexpected medical costs.
“April’s impact on animal welfare and appreciation is both immeasurable and lasting,” Patch said Friday.
But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals criticized the zoo for making breeding an internet event in April.
“The tragedy here isn’t that April died – it’s that she has never known a life without gawking viewers or livestream cameras,” said animal rights group vet Dr. Heather Rally.
April had another calf, Azizi, in March 2019 with more than 300,000 viewers watching live on YouTube. He died in a Texas zoo last October.
Animal Adventure Park said her contraceptive was given to withdraw from the breeding program after he was born.
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