What to Know
- Millions of people had been watching the stream in anticipation of the birth of "April" the giraffe's fourth calf
- Suddenly, Thursday morning, the stream was gone -- and the zoo said "Animal Rights Extremists" were responsible
- The livestream was back online about an hour and a half after the brouhaha started
STATUS UPDATE: 'April' the Giraffe Is Doing Well, Still Pregnant
YouTube has apparently restored an upstate New York zoo's livestream of a giraffe preparing to give birth that had been abruptly suspended Thursday after animal activists complained about "nudity and sexual content" in violation of the site's policy.
More than 20 million had been viewing the cam, placed in the stall of “April” the giraffe at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, in anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf. People from all over the world watched the long-necked animal slink gracefully around her hay-laden home, giddy with excitement.
Suddenly, shortly before 8 a.m., the stream stopped.
New York's Pregnant Giraffe April Captured on Camera in the Final Throes of Pregnancy
The Animal Adventure Park posted on Facebook that YouTube yanked the stream for "nudity & sexual content" and said "Animal Rights Extremists" were responsible.
The post was shared more than 6,200 times within an hour as thousands of commenters voiced frustration over "the miracle of life" being banned from YouTube. At least one person suggested the zoo put clothes on the giraffe.
In a Facebook live addressing the controversy, the zoo's owner, Jordan Patch, said, "This is a perfect example of why we cannot have nice things."
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A two-hour stream documenting part of the giraffe's labor was allowed to remain online, though the comment section was rife with angry users demanding YouTube restore the live video. By 9:45 a.m., it was back up -- and by 1:30 p.m., the giraffe was still swinging its tail comfortably, no sign the birth was imminent.
YouTube didn't directly respond to the controversy, but clearly delineated policies on its site ask users to flag content they believe violates standards. The site has an appeals process in place for users, and if content is removed in error, YouTube works quickly to reinstate it.
Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months. Labor will last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The calf will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour. The zoo says it will hold a contest to name the calf.
Though it'll be 15-year-old April's fourth calf, it'll be a first for 5-year-old dad Oliver, the zoo says.