April the giraffe finally gives birth in front of 1.2 million online fans
At last, April the giraffe has given birth in the US to a long-overdue calf as more than a million people around the world watched live.
April became an internet sensation after her pregnancy was livestreamed from Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, western New York.
She was due to give birth in January or February but her pregnancy went for at least 16 months, compared with the typical giraffe gestation period of 15 months, according to zoo officials.
The public fascination with April's unborn calf blossomed when the zoo began providing a live YouTube stream in February.
At its peak, the stream drew nearly five million viewers a day and a flood of media coverage and attention for Harpursville, which is about three hours northwest of New York City, The New York Times reported.
Hundreds of thousands of viewers have watched 15-year-old April since then, and more than a million people witnessed the birth on the livestream.
The YouTube page on Saturday (Sunday NZT) showed April going into labour and the hooves of the baby first emerging from the standing mother. Afterwards, the spindly 1.83-metre calf, estimated to weigh as much as 68kg, was seen standing at its mother's side.
Zoo officials have yet to announce the calf's gender. They plan to hold a contest to name the baby.
Classed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species in 2016, giraffes are the world's tallest mammals. The species is usually found in dry savanna zones south of Africa's Sahara desert.