Staffers at Animal Adventure Park, home of April the eternally pregnant giraffe, are not dummies. They're capitalizing on the widespread interest in their mom-in-waiting with a text-alert system for labor and baby announcements that costs $4.99/£4/AU$6.56 (a one-time charge, not including data and messaging rates).
In addition to news of the birth, subscribers will be among the first to know if April's baby is male or female, the park in Harpursville, New York, announced on Monday.
The park says subscribers will be the first to get updates before and after the birth, and "will enjoy content that the general viewing audience does not have access to." And on Monday, the park announced that subscribers will also be the first to know if April's army should be knitting a pink or blue scarf for baby's long neck.
"After much discussion, we have decided the initial gender reveal will be made via our text alert system as soon as gender is observed post-birth," staffers wrote on Facebook Monday. "This will be hours in advance of the media press releases."
The text-alert money is going to a good cause. "The subscriptions thus far have allowed us to add a significant amount more to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation fund we are compiling," the park says. "Your support will make a change -- and for that we thank you!"
Here's a tip: If you sign up and don't receive an immediate welcome message, follow up by verifying your mobile phone number is in the park's system by entering it at the site's support page. Mine wasn't there even after I signed up, but the support page let me enter my email and connect it to my phone number.
And what's up with the mom-to-be as the week kicks off?
"(April is showing) no interest in grain and only smelling lettuce treats," the Facebook update reports. "No discomfort evident, no distress -- normal progression as expected in the process. Many of you may have witnessed what appeared as 'pushing' contractions last night. The team and vet were in communication regarding these and (they) were documented throughout the night. Let's see if April's plan is to break up your work week!"
Keepers thought the baby would've been born this past weekend, the first weekend of April, and viewing numbers have regularly topped 200,000 at a time.
Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months "give or take 60 days," the park veterinarian has said, and April's fourth pregnancy seems to be both giving and taking the 60 days.
Boy or girl, the calf is expected to weigh around 150 pounds (68 kilograms) and be about 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall at birth.
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