HARPURSVILLE, NY — An upstate New York zoo vowed Thursday to live stream a giraffe giving birth, despite the removal of an earlier video because of "animal rights extremists."
The Animal Adventure Park, in Harpursville, aired two giraffe-cam videos on YouTube overnight into Thursday. The first, lasting 10 hours, has been removed, and the second two-hour video has stopped, but is still viewable.
Shortly after 9 a.m., a third video went live (as seen above).
Zoo officials said a video would go live once birth was “imminent. ... hooves are visible." As of noon, the calf still did not appear to be on its way.
“April the giraffe is expecting a calf. ... Follow the process as she and her mate, Oliver, welcome a new baby," the park posted earlier on YouTube.
The videos were cut short because "animal rights extremists" flagged them as "sexually explicit," prompting both to be taken down, according to the zoo.
“What this has done is pulled an educational tool away from tens of millions of individuals. ... You have harmed the species’ survival more than you could ever recognize," a zoo official said on a Facebook live video after the takedown.
The official seems to infer that these "extremists" are against giraffes being held in captivity.
"We’re all on the same team," the official tells activists. "We want the best for these animals and would love to have them in their natural environment someday; but until we can protect their natural habitat and curb poaching, that is not going to happen."
He then asserts that activists should instead donate to local charities that promote conservation.
Despite the controversy, Animal Adventure Park says the actual birth will be aired live.
The video is meant for "educational purposes," and the earlier YouTube videos had 20 to 30 million views in about 12 hours, according to the zoo.
Giraffes can be in labor anywhere from two to six hours, and up to a full day; but once the calf begins to show, it should be fully out in under an hour.
Park officials ask that curious viewers and supporters not contact them Thursday, as the zoo has been inundated with messages. However, if anyone has advice on how to best live stream the event, they are seeking advice.
April is doing "very well" and the labor process is going "just fine," according to the zoo.
This will be the the 15-year-old moms fourth calf, and a first for her hubby Oliver.