A case of horse neglect in Durham represents just the latest in a series of incidents related to animal abuse in the Twin Counties. But a refreshing contrast this week turned up in the life of April the giraffe.
April’s story — her career, in a sense — offers a vivid display of what can happen when an animal is treated with intelligence, dignity and, yes, lots of love and respect.
Given April’s public presence over the last two years, you’ll have to understand us for being fascinated by her relationship to this area. She was born at the former Catskill Game Farm in 2002 and moved to another facility in upstate New York when the Game Farm closed in 2006. In September 2015 she found a new home at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, near Binghamton, where she has lived ever since.
The beloved giraffe became a global internet sensation in 2017 when 1.2 million people tuned in to watch her pregnancy and labor as she gave birth to the male calf Tajiri. Then she did it again this year when another male, named Azizi, was born. More than 300,000 viewers watched that labor and birth on the park’s Giraffe Cam.
April is 17 years old, which puts her in her twilight years. Giraffes live into their early and mid-20s. Her keepers, including a team of veterinarians, retired her from breeding. She will live out her days assisting zoologists with their research into animal behavior and survival of the species. Owners of animals of all kinds would be wise to imitate the treatment given to April. Her security and safety were paramount. You might say April radiates the majesty of queens.