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1.2M Watched Her Give Birth. Now, a Farewell to April

Giraffe at upstate NY zoo is euthanized due to advancing arthritis
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2021 5:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – April, the giraffe that became a sensation when a rural New York zoo livestreamed her 2017 pregnancy and delivery, was euthanized Friday because of advancing arthritis, the zoo said. "She is a precious member of our family, and while we knew this day would eventually come, our hearts are hurting," Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch said in a statement, per the AP. The 20-year-old giraffe started showing 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 veterinarians said in a statement. They noted that animals as large as giraffes can deteriorate quickly from arthritis and noted that they deployed joint supplements, pain medications, anti-inflammatories, padded flooring, diet changes, and hoof trimming to try to slow the disease's progression. Her mobility kept declining, however, and she started spending a lot more time lying down.

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Imaging in March showed "significant and progressing degeneration" of joints in her lower leg, the vets said. April attracted a huge online audience as she carried her fourth calf in 2017 at the privately owned zoo in Harpursville. The giraffe cam became the second most-watched livestream in YouTube history, at least at the time. At least 1.2 million people watched as the male calf, eventually named Tajiri, was born. "April's impact on animal conservation and appreciation is both immeasurable and lasting," Patch said Friday. But PETA criticized the zoo for turning April's breeding into an internet event. "The tragedy here isn't that April died—it's that she never knew a life without gawping spectators or livestream cameras," said a group veterinarian. April had another calf, Azizi, in March 2019, with more than 300,000 people watching live on YouTube. He died at a Texas zoo last October. Animal Adventure Park said April was put on contraceptives following his birth.

(Read more giraffes stories.)

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