FLORA AND FAUNA
Pregnant giraffe April now 'carrying everything a bit towards the rear'
by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) Mar 19, 2017


Millions of online followers have been tracking the progress of April, a pregnant giraffe at Animal Adventure Park, a zoo in Upstate New York. On Sunday, zookeepers offered a positive update on the park's Facebook page.

"Keepers have noted a calming down of the calf and April carrying everything a bit towards the rear," the zoo wrote in an update. "This is exactly what we want! Wax caps are still in place. Appetite remains strong."

April is 15 years old and has previously birthed three calves; she has never lost a calf nor had a stillborn -- an impressive run of reproductive success. The father of April's forthcoming calf is five-year-old Oliver; this is his first calf.

Giraffe pregnancies are serious business, lasting 15 months. The birth can last anywhere from several hours to several days.

Veterinarians say April is in good health despite periods of restlessness as a result of her confinement. Cold weather has kept April and her mate, Oliver, cooped up inside. April's calf has also been rather active in recent weeks, but has calmed over the last few days.

Online viewers are anxiously awaiting the calf's birth. Zookeepers expect the birth to happen soon but don't haven't offered a delivery date.

"I think the fact that she's a giraffe and she's a neat species that people are interested in, that's fostered a lot of the attention," Jordan Patch, owner of the Animal Adventure Park, said of April's online following. "The fact that you're gonna get to witness the miracle of birth from an animal that you really don't get to see give birth -- that's neat."

FLORA AND FAUNA
When the sea ice melts, juvenile polar cod may go hungry
Bremerhaven, Germany (SPX) Mar 17, 2017
Polar cod fulfil a key role in the Arctic food web, as they are a major source of food for seals, whales and seabirds alike. But the polar cod themselves might soon be the hungry ones. Under the ice of the central Arctic, the juvenile fish are indirectly but heavily dependent on ice algae. As a result, retreating sea ice could have far-reaching impacts on the food web. Though researchers h ... read more

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