Thursday, March 2, 2017

April and Autism #FridayReflections

This week, I learned just how much a giraffe can unite the world, and bring pleasure to those with disabilities.

And if a giraffe can do it, why can't we reach out to the world and make it a better place?

All over the world, people are watching a webcam set up by Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, about 30 minutes from where my brother in law with autism, "Bil", lives.  Yes, all over the world.  And now, you can, too.

The webcam shows a giraffe by the name of April, who is quite pregnant, and due any day, in her stall.  In the next stall is Oliver, her mate. 

She could give birth any time.  In fact, I am publishing this a day early, so you all can enjoy the experience of watching her obsessively.

What a perfect name - April, which also happens to be Autism Awareness Month.  As it happens, many children with autism, for some reason, have taken up the April baby watch, obsessively watching the webcam day and night.

They are reading about giraffes.  So, here are a few facts about our local giraffe:

April is 15 years old, expecting her fourth calf (first calf for five year old father-to-be Oliver).  As the You tube page explains:

"The calf will weigh around 150lb and will be about 6' tall at birth.
The front hooves will come out first followed by the snout.

Mom will naturally raise the calf, with weaning could take between 6-10 months, maybe longer. We will not rush this process – it is just a documented range of captive weaning.

The keepers will go in with April, clean her pen, give her treats (but not Oliver). He is a bull - and a bull is a bull is a bull!

Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months

Upon naturally weaning, the calf will move on to another facility to start a breeding program there. We cannot retain offspring, as it would lead to incestuous mating and undermine the genetics of the program and species."

I understand the actual labor and delivery may take as little as 15 minutes.  Lucky April!  We human women could wish....

Right now, as I watch, Oliver is sleeping.  Figures!  The bull (male) doesn't help in the child raising, either.

At first, I thought watching the webcam was silly.  But, daily, I learn how much pleasure it is giving people.  Tomorrow will be better for them, because they are shedding the cares of the day, in favor of a relaxing virtual visit to upstate New York.  It, hopefully, will be better for me, too, as my husband and I try to work through some of the concerns we have for Bil's future.

April doesn't worry about tomorrow.  For her, it's all about today.  It's a good philosophy.

Bil isn't one of those watching, by the way.  He's never had much use for the Internet, and I made the decision, a while ago, not to push it.  Animals aren't his special interest; he is interested more in the weather.

April doesn't have much use for the Internet, either but she now has her own website.

One more thing - some of you may be familiar with the symbol of autism, the "puzzle piece". When my husband came over to watch April with me, he said "you know, the giraffe's spots look like puzzle pieces."

I guess, in a way, they do.

Tomorrow will be better, because of the lessons a giraffe taught me today.

What about you?

Today's prompt for #FridayReflections is "Tomorrow will be better because today I learned…"


  1. Beautiful. I have heard of April, but haven't watched yet.

    1. I invite you to, Corinne. As of right now, still no baby. You may be lucky enough to click in at the right time.

  2. This is actually a very smart way to get the general population to show more interest and actually learn about animals, isn't it? Definitely need more versions of this in the future, I think with other animals too.

    1. The sudden interest has overwhelmed the staff of Animal Adventure, I suspect. They actually had another animal give birth this week - but who cares? Sill, maybe they will set up a webcam again, sometime in the future, after things calm down. As their mission is education, I agree it is a natural.

  3. This is such a nice and different idea. I just started watching. Oliver is restless and April is standing still.

    1. When April gives birth (as of 11:45 am EST 3-5 she has not gone into labor) I will post an update. Thank you for joining in the worldwide fun.

  4. I do need to learn more about animals and nature. What a great idea. And the giraffe's spots really do look like puzzle pieces!

  5. I tuned into the giraffe-cam late last night, after reading this, and thought it must all be over. I had no idea giraffes could move so slowly they appeared to be still frames.

    I think I'm with Bil on this one; I might enjoy the highlights reel, or notification as the blessed event begins, but there's nothing fascinating about watching a giraffe sleep.

    I'd never thought of their spots making them the perfect mascot for autism, but now it's hard not to see giraffes that way. I love it!

    1. They had troubles with the webcam last night, saying" All Is Well! We did experience some glitches last night, both on the video feed and the facebook page, but we believe those have been resolved. Our apologies on the cam being down for some time and the Evening Update that was drafted, but did not post." I can't say I am surprised that April has become a fascination with many with autism, but the fact that, generally, this webcam has gone viral is a surprise. Perhaps we all need an escape. When April gives birth (as of 11:45 am EST 3-5 she has not gone into labor) I will post an update.


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