It is with the heaviest of hearts that Animal Adventure Park announces the tremendous loss of our beloved April the Giraffe. Euthanasia was carried out at April’s home in Harpursville this morning, due to her worsening arthritis, in accordance with the recommendations of her veterinary team. We grieve with her many fans, near and far, as we say goodbye to the giraffe that can be credited with making a foothold for giraffe and giraffe conservation awareness in the 21st century.
April the Giraffe became a viral sensation and household name in 2017, winning admirers around the globe as the world watched her labor and delivery with bated breath via a YouTube live stream. Since then, April has been one of the world’s most famous animals, and in turn, has made a profound impact on giraffe conservation, education and appreciation. While her hoofprints in her yard will erode in time, the imprint she has made on the hearts of people around the world will never fade.
At the celebrated age of 20 years old, April was in her golden years, with the captive management life expectancy averaging 20-25 years, far greater than the average lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild. We credit and thank the outstanding collective care provided by the park’s veterinarians and animal care team with keeping April happy and healthy during her more than five year stay at Animal Adventure.
Both teams have made every possible effort to keep her comfortable and prolong her life while managing her condition. Over the past year, accommodations were made and treatments performed, including yard substrate changes, installation of a state-of-the-art padded barn flooring system, coupled with farrier work, dietary and medical changes. April’s most recent veterinary exam identified the acceleration of April’s condition, prompting the determination that euthanasia was the humane and appropriate course of action.
Following the euthanasia, her body was escorted to the Cornell University Veterinary School by the Patch family, where a necropsy will be completed. She will then be cremated, and her ashes will be returned to Animal Adventure Park. To gain a deeper understanding of April’s condition and this decision, please review the following details from her veterinary team and caretakers.
Memorial for April the Giraffe at Animal Adventure Park
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How did April the Giraffe die?
Statement from Animal Adventure Park’s veterinary team:“Beginning in the summer of 2020, the staff at Animal Adventure Park began reporting changes in April’s mobility. The park’s veterinarians radiographed April’s feet in July 2020 and noted the onset of osteoarthritis. The radiographs showed a loss of joint space and subchondral bone collapse in her left hind leg, which can be expected in a giraffe of her age. In addition to the joint supplements, the park began multi-modal management of osteoarthritis including measures such as pain medications, anti-inflammatories, hoof trimming, installation of padded flooring and dietary changes in hopes of slowing down the progression of her condition. During each visit by the park’s veterinarians, we assessed and discussed April’s quality of life, which has remained top priority while managing her condition.
Unfortunately, over time, what we saw was April increasingly shifting her weight from limb-to-limb, a continual decline in mobility and spending a lot more time laying recumbent. The most recent set of radiographs taken in early March to evaluate her condition, showed significant and progressing degeneration of the joints in her lower leg. The severity of her condition has been outpacing our ability to control April’s comfort. The March 2021 observation reported advanced osteoarthritis, interphalangeal subluxation in the left rear hoof, and lameness and angular joint abnormalities in all feet.
Relating these arthritic changes to personal pets (dogs, cats, horse) and even humans, can help us better understand and relate to the condition. Lameness and arthritis are amplified in animals as large as giraffe. While a small dog can compensate, large species, like giraffe, can deteriorate quickly. Despite Animal Adventure Park’s multi-faceted approach to mitigate April’s condition, it is irreversible and advancing at a rapid rate. As hard of a decision as it is, for a veterinary team and facility, it is decided that euthanasia is the most humane decision to make at this time.”
“April the Giraffe brought joy to the millions who have watched her via the park’s Giraffe Cam, and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who have made the trip to her home in Harpursville, New York,” said Jordan Patch, owner of Animal Adventure Park. “To her keepers and our team here at the park, she is a precious member of our family, and while we knew this day would eventually come, our hearts are hurting. April’s impact on animal conservation and appreciation is both immeasurable and lasting. The loss of an animal as loved as her will be felt in our community, around the country and across the world. We appreciate respect and empathy from April’s fans and the park’s supporters during this difficult time, as they grieve along with us. She will be deeply missed and fondly remembered. April, in her own special way, changed the world.”
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Animal Adventure Park Alyssa Fired
This has saddened me beyond words. She was so special to so many people. To Jordan an all of you at AAP I cannot imagine your sadness. My deepest condolences to all of you.Alexandra Wyper
There are just no words to capture the sadness and the gratitude we all feel. There will never be another April, and we are so fortunate that you found her and shared her with all of us. Meeting her and feeding her carrots is a day I will never forget. My heart goes out to Jordan, his family, and the entire AAP Team
Jodi Gardner Barnard
So sad to hear of the passing of April. Watching her and learning about giraffes definitely had an impact on our life. I even thought of coming to visit this year to see her. So sorry to hear of this occurring before this could happen. She touched so many lives Rest In Peace April you will
I took this screenshot right after April gave birth to Tajiri, I was completely captivated along with many, many others, and have kept this screenshot as I have such fond memories of watching and anxiously waiting for this moment. This made me cry and my heart will be hurting for a long time with this loss.
April you were so extremely loved and unknowingly helped many other giraffes. Thank you Animal Adventure Park for sharing this beautiful animal with the world
Kathryn Sims Passeno
My heart is absolutely broken. I can’t even imagine how heartsick her AAP family is. What an awful decision to have to make. I kind of felt like she was mine. I know a lot of you probably felt the same way. Sending love and thoughts of peace and healing prayers to everyone involved with our darling April. RIP beautiful girl. Go find Azizi and have a wonderful reunion.
Judith Cutright Galloway
My heart is broken at this news. April was truly an amazing ambassador for giraffe conservation. Having watched her two births at AAP, I was blessed to be able to travel to AAP in 2019 to see her. My deepest condolences to the Patch family, AAP family, and all who loved our beloved April.
Teresa Ross Hild
Oh, my heart goes out to all at AAP, especially Jordan. I’m in tears, but kind of felt something was wrong when Jordan and Carly were in with her yesterday. Prayers of comfort for the Patch family, all the keepers, and all her many fans around the world. You all gave her such an amazing life. We love you April, RIP and run those beautiful fields with your beautiful Azizi.
Oh, Jordan, and family and staff, I am so devastated to read this, April will always be loved and remembered, She was surely one of a kind, Reunited with her son Azizi , My deepest condolences to each and every one of you, and to all of Aprils fans around the world.
Brenda Lynn Ayala
So sorry to hear this I’ve been following you since she had Tajiri and never made it to see her she had the best life thanks to Jordan and staff and thru all I’ve learned about giraffe conservation im now a lover of them what a precious heartwarming photo . Rest In Peace April
Lucille Carnevale Tourville
I love this picture. The love and trust that Jordan and April shared is evident Thank you Jordan for sharing her journey with us and providing the best environment for her, and thank you staff and keepers for taking such good care of her on a daily basis
I’m so sorry for the loss of this beautiful creature. She came into our lives, through you, and gave us a glimpse into her world at your amazing park. We watched, glued to our screens, as she gave birth to a beautiful baby. There were cheers around the world. April, you will always live on in my memory and in so many others. Thank you Jordan and AAP for sharing April with us. She will be missed.
What an awesome remembrance of April. She touched so very many lives in person and through social media. I never got to visit in person but I am one of the thousands who watched her and loved her since 2017. Forever in my heart. Thank you Jordon for sharing her with us!