How long are giraffes pregnant?

Published: Tuesday, April 04, 2017 @ 1:55 PM

Fast Facts About Giraffes

The whole world is watching April the giraffe. 

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The 15-year-old mammal has been on pregnancy watch for months now, and New York’s Animal Adventure Park has continued to increase anticipation of a calf’s birth.

For how long are giraffes pregnant? Is April actually in labor? 

According to Animal Planet, the average gestation period for a giraffe is 15 months. That’s comparable to the gestation period of killer whales (15 to 18 months) and African elephants (22 months).

Jordan Patch, owner of Animal Adventure Park, told WUSA it’s unlikely vets will be able to tell if April is in labor until the calf’s hoof begins to poke out of her rear-end. “Giraffe's instinctively hide their labor for however long it's lasting in order to not draw attention from predators who will wait out a giraffe's labor in order to attack once the calf is born,” WUSA reported. 

April’s water has not yet broken –- an active sign of labor.

>> 14 fast facts about giraffes

Patch said the live stream of April started as a way to keep interested visitors informed about the giraffe during the park’s off season. People who visited the park last year knew about her pregnancy and wanted updates during the time the park is closed. Animal Adventure Park reopens May 13.

Fast Facts About Giraffes

April the Giraffe’s pregnancy: A brief timeline

April joined the zoo in September 2015. At the time, zoo officials said they had plans to mate April with the park’s first giraffe, Oliver

It’s unclear when the park first found out April was pregnant, and AprilTheGiraffe.com, a website operated by Animal Adventure Park dedicated to all things April doesn’t specify when news of her pregnancy was first discovered. But the park wrote on Facebook that April and Oliver had “connected” in the fall of 2015. In February 2016, officials wrote on social media that she may have been pregnant then and that they would begin testing soon. A November 2016 post shows keepers tending to April and Oliver with preparations for birth. A narrator in a live video said April was expected to give birth in January. 

Workers at the park continued to speculate that April would give birth in January or February. By February, a live stream video was started to allow fans to watch April’s every move up until the birth of her little one. On March 31, a post on the park’s Facebook page said it “would be shocked to get through the weekend without (the) newest addition.”

Officials Upset After Giraffe Live Stream Pulled From YouTube

What are people saying about it all being a prank?

Some people have said the anticipated birth of April’s calf was an elaborate joke, with some saying news of the prank would be announced on April Fool’s Day. After April 1 -- with no birth and park workers and vets still saying the birth is still to come -- speculation of an April Fool’s quip died down. 

Others maintained doubts, referencing this post uploaded by the park in February 2016: 

Others have said the park is intentionally hyping up the April’s pregnancy in an effort to collect funds. Animal Adventure Park has launched or supported GiraffeMojiApril the Giraffe apparel, a GoFundMe account for April and a paid text service to get alerts about April’s developments. At the end of March, Toy-R-Us announced a partnership with Animal Adventure Park. Animal Adventure Park is a for profit organization.

April’s vet took to Facebook Sunday after the birth of April’s baby still had not come. 

“So the timeline for my 24-48 hour prediction is rapidly coming to an end... not surprising is the fact that we still have no calf and we still don't have a giraffe in Labor,” he wrote Sunday. “It really shouldn't be much longer, I'm just not going to tell you my guesstimate anymore.”

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Dogs separated at adoption randomly find each other at crowded market

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 7:38 PM

Dogs Parted at Adoption Randomly Find Each Other

A couple strolled through downtown Seattle’s iconic, bustling Pike Place Market food stands on a clear winter Saturday when their dog started running through the booths

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"We noticed a puppy who looked very similar in age and appearance to [our dog] Maui, and once they saw each other they got really excited and started playing together," owner Kaitlyn Hawkins told KIRO 7. "After chatting with the other owners we realized that the dogs are siblings."

The 11-month-old dogs rolled around, embracing each other in their coincidental reunion. 

Maui and her sister Juniper were adopted from Russia. They were flow to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last May as puppies.

The two dogs recognizing each other nearly a year later has made them an internet sensation. With more than 15 million visitors exploring the historic district annually, people find the encounter quite remarkable. 

A worker at the Pike Place Market captured the moment in a video, and nearly 3 million people have watched it on Facebook

"I witnessed the coolest thing," the Facebook post said. "They even had identifying tattoos that confirmed it. This joyful reunion went on for over a half an hour, in fact they were still at it when I left the market." 

After the two families chatted, they realized they briefly met while picking the dogs up at the airport. They've exchanged phone numbers and plan to meet again soon for a play date at a dog park. 

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Man shot, killed with children in car in possible case of road rage

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 9:14 AM

A man was shot and killed early Thursday in a possible case of road rage in Georgia, police said.

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Investigators were at the entrance of the Brighton Village subdivision in Dekalb County on Thursday morning, where the man’s body was found in a car after at least three shots were fired.

The DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office was at the scene, Lt. Mark Lavigne said.

According to police, the victim’s two children and two other adults were in the car at the time of the fatal 4 a.m. shooting.

One of the adults in the car was the victim’s wife, WSBTV reported

The victim’s relation to the other adult in the car was not immediately known.

No one else was injured.

It was not immediately clear whether the incident was related to a pair of random shootings that injured two drivers in southwest Atlanta earlier Thursday.

>> On AJC.com: 2 drivers shot in separate incidents just miles apart

“We will definitely be looking into that,” Lavigne said.

Police continued to investigate the shooting Thursday.

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Man accused of beating wife, an online exhibitionist, to death with absinthe bottle

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 7:01 PM

William Jeffrey
William Jeffrey "Jeff" West(Shelby County Jail)

An Alabama man charged with killing his wife, whose slaying last month unveiled her double life as an online exhibitionist, is accused of beating her to death with a bottle of absinthe, court records show.

The partially-clothed body of Kathleen Dawn “Kat” West, 42, of Calera, was discovered lying in the road in front of her home just after 5 a.m. on Jan. 18, Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said in a Thursday news conference. She lived there with her husband, William Jeffrey West, and their 12-year-old daughter. 

Jeff West, 44, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder. According to Shelby County Jail records, he was being held Friday in lieu of $500,000 bond. 

The couple’s daughter was not home when her mother was killed.

Lemley said Thursday that Jeff West was the department’s chief suspect from the beginning of the investigation, though Kat West’s “online professional activities” warranted investigators’ attention. 

He declined to specify what evidence pointed them toward her husband. 

“Let me say this. We are still restricted, very restricted, on what information that can be given out,” Lemley said. “The case is still under investigation, even though we have made an arrest. But, the case has to go to trial as well.”

The West murder case has shone a national spotlight on small-town Calera, due mainly to the more salacious details of Kat West’s life. Though she described herself on social media as a full-time stay-at-home wife and mother, she operated a subscription-only adult website where she went by the name “Kitty Kat West.” The public page boasted a suggestive photo and promised users that, for a monthly $15.99 subscription fee, they could get more risqué material beyond the paywall. 

Her Twitter account, also listed under her stage name, directs viewers to the paid adult website, as well. Kat West’s bio on the adult site, which was still live as of Friday, described the site, in part, as “hundreds of pics of ALL me, having some naughty fun.”

In the days immediately following the slaying, Kat West’s mother, Nancy Martin, wrote on Facebook that it seemed “impossible for the extreme sadness and grief we feel (over) the loss of our beautiful daughter, Kat, to ever diminish.” She described her daughter as a “cherished wife to Jeff” and a loving mother to their own young daughter. 

A fundraiser in Kat West’s name was established, but quickly ended as the case became more public. 

On Jan. 24, Martin changed her profile picture to one of her daughter and son-in-law. It remained there as of Friday afternoon. 

See Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley’s news conference, recorded by WBRC in Birmingham, below. 

Lemley said that investigators interviewed many witnesses in the case, as well as collecting a lot of evidence that needed to be processed. Four detectives were assigned to the case, two of them full-time. 

“Evidence takes time to process,” the police chief said. “And we have to wait on that evidence to come in so we can connect all the dots.”

Detectives were awaiting analysis on a final piece of evidence from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. That final report was issued on Tuesday and, after a thorough review by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, a warrant was issued for Jeff West’s arrest, the chief said. 

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“We know exactly what happened, for the most part, on this case.” Lemley said. “I mean, we can’t tell you verbatim what was being said one way or the other, but we know what happened that night. We do have evidence to support that.”

The chief credited neighboring Shelby County law enforcement agencies, state agencies and the FBI with assisting in the investigation. 

Lemley again declined to go into detail about the evidence, but Jeff West’s arrest warrant, obtained by AL.com, indicates that Kat West was killed with a bottle of Lucid Absinthe. An autopsy found that the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head. 

The court documents state that, when a 19-year-old neighbor left for work Jan. 18, she found Kat West face-down on the ground in nothing but a sports bra, her body half in the roadway and half in the yard of the home across the street. A cellphone was found nearby, along with a green liquor bottle. 

Lucid Absinthe is sold in green bottles. 

TV news magazine Inside Edition on Jan. 25 aired surveillance footage from R&R Wine and Liquor, in Calera, that shows Kat West, just about eight hours before she was killed, walk into the liquor store with a man who appears to be her husband. In the video, the couple looks happy and playful.

“They came in (and) it looked like they were on their date night,” store clerk Stacey Oglesby told Inside Edition.

The couple bought two things that night: Lucid Absinthe and Jameson Irish Whiskey, Oglesby said. 

Lemley said it was not completely clear what could have happened between the couple’s visit to the liquor store, when they appeared happy, and when Kat West was bludgeoned to death. 

“It’s a domestic. Unfortunately, domestics turn bad pretty quickly,” Lemley said. “Anything can trigger it.” 

Jeff West, a military veteran, works as an unsworn police officer at Birmingham Southern College, AL.com reported. Officials at the school said they are in the process of terminating his employment. 

As of Thursday, Jeff West had not admitted involvement in the crime, Lemley said. 

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President Donald Trump admits to trying to hide his bald spot

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 11:14 PM

U.S. President Donald Trump jokes about covering his bald spot while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference.
 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump jokes about covering his bald spot while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Over the years, much has been speculated about President Donald Trump’s hair, but he’s never admitted to having a reason for choosing his particular hairstyle other than the fact that it’s the way he “likes it.” However, on Friday, that all changed when he finally admitted to having a bald spot — and trying to hide it.

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“Oh, I try like hell to hide the bald spot, folks. I work at it,” he told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland. “It doesn’t look bad. Hey, we are hanging in, we are hanging in, we are hanging in there. Right? Together, we are hanging in.”

Trump’s honest take on his hair came after a video of him boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on Feb. 2 revealed a bald spot on the back of his head when his signature mane was whipped by the gusty wind.

Trump’s hair has been a topic of conversation for years, and he has often talked about it himself. In a much-maligned interview on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” the late-night host was allowed to mess up then-candidate Trump’s hair to prove that it was real.

Trump has also made it clear multiple times that he doesn’t wear a wig or a “rug” as he’s called it. “As everybody knows, but the haters and losers refuse to acknowledge, I do not wear a ‘wig.’ My hair may not be perfect, but it’s mine,” he once wrote on Twitter.

“I do not wear a rug. My hair is 100 percent mine. No animals have been harmed in the creation of my hairstyle,” the former businessman quipped in his book, “Trump: How to Get Rich.”

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