The Swahili moniker was bestowed upon April the Giraffe’s newborn calf after Animal Adventure Park hosted a baby-naming contest. The name means “hope” and “confidence,” with fans already dubbing the internet sensation “Taj” for short.
Fans could submit names in exchange for a $1 donation at nameaprilscalf.com. Once voting was over, the zoo shared the top 10 picks and let fans vote for their favourite. Included in the top ten were Ollie, Apollo, Noah, Gio and Unity, but Tajiri was the clear winner.
“Hope is something that Tajiri has not only brought you guys, as a community globally now. But it is a hope for giraffes. We have been able to give giraffes a voice,” the newborn’s keeper Allysa Swilley said in a live Facebook video. “We have been able to say we’re losing giraffes at an incredibly fast rate and we have given the species a hope.”
Proceeds from the contest will go toward the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Animal Adventure Park, and Ava’s Little Heroes, a charity that assists families with medical costs.
Before an online audience of more than a million viewers, April the giraffe gave birth to a calf Saturday April 15, at a New York zoo, ending weeks of proverbial pacing by animal lovers in a virtual worldwide waiting room.
The 15-year-old giraffe delivered her calf shortly before 10 a.m. EDT in an enclosed pen at the zoo in Harpursville, a rural upstate village about 130 miles (209 kilometres) northwest of New York City. The mama giraffe tenderly licked her calf, which began to slowly pick its head up from the floor of the pen. About 45 minutes after it was born, the calf stood on its wobbly legs for the first time while mom helped keep her baby steady.
At least 1.2 million people Adventure Park’s YouTube streaming of the event. A logo on the feed quickly changed from ToysRUs to BabiesRUs following the birth.
This is April’s fourth calf, but Animal Adventure Park’s first giraffe calf. The proud papa, a 5-year-old giraffe named Oliver, watched from an adjacent pen. This is his first offspring.
The privately owned zoo began livestreaming from April’s enclosure in February. People around the world have been tuning in daily.
April has her own website and even an apparel line. A GoFundMe fundraiser page that initially set a goal of $50,000 sat at more than $125,000 on Saturday morning. The money will be used for the care of the animals.
The park’s livestream was briefly interrupted in February when YouTube pulled the feed after someone reported 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 Farmington, New Hampshire, songwriter even posted a music video on YouTube called, “I’m Going Crazy Waiting (For A Giraffe).”
The reaction on Twitter was ebullient and hopeful: “We did it, internet! We had a giraffe baby together;” “Everybody sticking their neck out for this baby giraffe;” and “On a day where “mother of all bombs” is a trending phrase, I love how the world unites over the birth of a baby giraffe.”