Why is (almost) everyone obsessed with April the giraffe?

Why is (almost) everyone obsessed with April the giraffe?
Published: Mar. 13, 2017 at 8:34 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 13, 2017 at 8:38 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Millions of people are tuning into the live feed of a pregnant giraffe at a New York zoo. For more than a month people have been watching and waiting for April's calf to arrive. But why are so many people interested - almost obsessed?

"Everyone loves giraffes," said Ethan Anderson with the Audubon Zoo. "Very iconic animal, patterns are beautiful, tall - nothing on the planet like it."

Visitors look up in amazement at the giraffe enclosure at the Audubon Zoo.

"[I] can  give name, ages, anything like that if anyone is curious," Anderson said.

In Harpursville, NY, millions watch April to see the miracle of birth.

"I check her about every day," said Audubon Zoo visitor Keely Horn. "In fact, several times during the day. I'm not real sure why I'm obsessed with watching her - just to see a wild animal born, especially a giraffe. They're so cute."

"On Facebook every day it's like, 'Day 17, giraffe watch.' I'm like, 'Please stop watching that poor giraffe and let them have a baby when she wants to.'"

"Never heard of it," said another visitor. "But I do see the eagles on the live feed. Pretty cool.

As for others, April has their sympathy.

"Poor thing, in labor for days and days and days," one woman said.

One pregnant woman even wanted to be a viral sensation like April, donning a giraffe costume and walking around with her pregnant belly exposed.

Clinical psychologist Michelle Moore explained why.

"Think of how people like reality TV," she said. "This is reality TV at its finest. It's something really happening right now. Even if it's remote, you're part of the experience going on."

"It's a very unique experience," Anderson said. "Most people don't get to see behind the scenes in the zoos. It's a special place to have the camera."

But it's something that can't be seen at Audubon.

"We have a herd of males, all bachelors," Anderson said. "We won't be breeding any time soon. If there were a female out here in close quarters, they'd battle to the death if you let them because they want to breed and spread their genetics."

So the treat of the impending gift of life is special.

"It's something really happy and positive going on in the country, and I think people need that right now," Moore said.

"It's a distraction of what's going on in the world, that would be my guess and giraffe's are cool have you seen them," Audubon Zoo visitor Robin Boutillette said.

The Audubon Nature Institute's Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife will begin operating in the coming months in Lower Coast Algiers in partnership with the San Diego Zoo. There, giraffes and many other species will be bred, but it will not be open to the public.

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