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April the giraffe finally gives birth

Posted at 7:48 AM, Apr 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-17 07:48:34-04

(RNN) - The baby giraffe viewers waited months to see born has been named Tajiri.

Animal Adventure Park announced the baby's name Monday live on Good Morning America.

Tajiri was not among the finalists for the name, but "Alyssa's choice" won the voting, allowing the giraffe's primary keeper to name the baby, and she chose Tajiri, which means hope in Swahili. He will be nicknamed "Taj."

In the days leading up to the contest’s end, the zoo teased visitors, revealing a “daily shuffle” among the top names.

The other finalists were Apollo, Geoffrey, Gio, Harpur, Noah, Ollie, Patch, Patches and Unity.

After 16 months of pregnancy, April gave birth April 15 to a male calf, which measured 5’9” and weighed 129 pounds.

Animal Adventure Park has continued to provide updates on April and the baby via their Facebook page. The calf has been growing and getting stronger in the weeks since his birth. He went outside for the first time April 28.

The baby reportedly has “quite the personality.” Keepers say he is spunky and independent as well as inquisitive and friendly, traits they credit to his parents.

Once the calf is weaned from his mother, he will be sent to another zoo to help sire more offspring. That process is expected to take around 15 months.

April has recovered nicely from the birth, the zoo reports, and Oliver, the baby’s father, is interested in the calf. Keepers say they hadn’t anticipated how interested he would be but see it as a good sign.

The zoo’s giraffe live cam, which was taken down shortly after the birth, has returned, but it is only available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET every Tuesday.

The time frame was chosen because it allows viewers to see the giraffes after the park closes and the animals return to their stalls for the night, according to Animal Adventure Park.

Keepers intend to put a permanent yard cam up this season to allow viewers to check in with the giraffe family.

Internet marketing experts estimated for the Associated Press that the zoo has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, thanks to the YouTube livestream, memorabilia, text message alerts and more.

The park owners say the money will be used for zoo upkeep, wildlife conservation in Africa and aid for local children with unexpected medical expenses.

Jordan Patch, who started the 20-acre zoo with his wife four years ago, expects twice as many visitors as last year. He says he never thought the pregnant giraffe would become a phenomenon.

The livestream was originally intended to allow park staff to take care of their daily duties rather than field inquiries about April’s pregnancy, the Associated Press reports.

Located in Harpursville, NY, about 130 miles northwest of New York City, the park will open for the season May 13.

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