April the giraffe has calf at US zoo in front of 1.2 million online audience
April the giraffe has given birth at a New York zoo as more than a million people around the world watched live.
The birth ended weeks of proverbial pacing by animal lovers in a virtual worldwide waiting room.
The 15-year-old giraffe delivered her calf shortly before 10am EST in an enclosed pen at the zoo in Harpursville, a rural village about 130 miles (209km) north-west of New York City, and tenderly licked it as it began to slowly pick its head up from the floor of the pen.
At least 1.2 million people watched the Animal Adventure Park's YouTube streaming of the event .
The calf is April's fourth, but the park's first giraffe calf. The proud father, a five-year-old named Oliver, watched from an adjacent pen. This is his first offspring.
The privately owned zoo began livestreaming from April's enclosure in February and people around the world have been tuning in daily.
April has her own website and even a clothing line.
A GoFundMe fundraising page which initially set a goal of 50,000 US dollars sat at more than 125,000 US dollars on Saturday morning. The money will be used for the care of the animals.
A competition will be held to decide on a name for the calf.
The park's livestream was briefly interrupted in February when YouTube pulled the feed after someone reported that the images contained explicit material and nudity.
Jordan Patch, owner of the Animal Adventure Park, blamed "a handful of extremists and animal rights activists" for the interruption.
The wait for the giraffe became an anxiety-ridden experience for some. A songwriter from Farmington, New Hampshire, even posted a music video on YouTube called I'm Going Crazy Waiting (For A Giraffe).
No immediate details on the calf were announced, but they usually weigh around 150lb (68kg) and are about 6ft (1.8m) tall at birth. Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months on average.