Abi the giraffe has been in labor at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas for 12 days
Abi the giraffe went into labor 12 days ago — but there are still no baby hooves in sight.
She lives at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center in Topeka, Kansas, and is pregnant with her first calf. The calf was expected to land on the ground anytime in May or June, according to KTWU, but the baby is taking its time.
"We think today might be the day!!" the zoo posted June 24. "Make sure to watch the giraffe cam and keep an eye out for updates!"
Now 12 days later, thousands of people are anxiously awaiting the birth of a baby calf and watching the pregnant mom through live "giraffecams" as part of #HoofWatch. The giraffe cameras are available all day, every day thanks to a partnership between the zoo and public TV station KTWU.
While thousands are watching from the comfort of their homes, zookeepers are providing around-the-clock care to prepare for the calf's arrival, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
Zookeeper Rebecca Woolley told the newspaper they will know the baby is coming once the calf's hooves start to pop out, hence the use of the hashtag, #HoofWatch.
“It still might take up to like 45 minutes or so for the baby to come out once you see the hooves,” Woolley told the Capital-Journal. “But that’s when you get everybody here, cause once the hooves are out, she can’t stop.”
A staff member told the Capital Journal they expect the birth to take place during the night. The zoo is providing updates on its Facebook page.
On Sunday, a zookeeper said they performed an ultrasound to make sure the calf was still alive.
"The fetus is alive and the heart is beating regularly, so as far as we can tell its doing what its supposed to be doing," the keeper said in a Facebook live.
A giraffe's pregnancy normally lasts about 15 months, according to Animal Planet.
Giraffes give birth while standing, so a baby calf will usually fall to the ground from six feet up. The hooves and head fall first.
"The fall may seem like an abrupt entrance into the world, but it effectively breaks the amniotic sac, severs the umbilical cord, and most importantly encourages the calf to take its first breaths," Animal Planet said in a post about giraffe labor. "After the calf drops to the ground, the mother will begin to clean it off, and after a few minutes, the calf will attempt its first steps."
The zoo said the cameras will be on throughout the pregnancy so that you can follow the giraffe's "journey into the new world at Topeka Zoo."
But Abi isn't the only one to watch. Hope, an 8-year-old giraffe, is also pregnant at the Topeka Zoo. The zoo decided to breed Abi and Hope to Sgt. Peppers — Sarge for short — in 2016, according to a city news release.
Hope is expected to deliver her calf about a month after Abi, the Associated Press reported. Hope can also be watched on a giraffecam.
Last year, about 1.2 million people watched April the giraffe for weeks in anticipation of her new baby at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York. She gave birth to a male calf with an online audience of more than a million viewers.