Two months after internet sensation April the giraffe gave birth to her son Tajiri ― Taj for short ― at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, the park and surrounding community have seen an increase in visitors and media attention.
The park, located less than 20 miles from Downtown Binghamton, began a livestream of April in February when park officials indicated she was in labor and would give birth within days.
However, initial estimates on how far along she was were off, so Tajiri took a few more months before finally entering the world on April 15. During that time, the livestream attracted millions of viewers across the country.
— April The Giraffe (@AprilTheGiraffe) April 15, 2017
Jordan Patch, the owner of Animal Adventure Park, wrote in an email that April’s popularity has lead to an influx of visitors to the park this summer.
“Having been open just shy of one month, and not yet in peak season, we expect attendance numbers for the year to be between double and triple of years prior,” Patch wrote.
He also noted that the larger number of visitors has led to an increase in sales and bookings for local businesses in Harpursville, which is located within the town of Colesville.
Glenn Winsor, the town supervisor of Colesville, said that the increase of visitors initially presented challenges.
”We have certainly have had some growing pains being a small rural community,” Winsor said. “We have had some traffic issues to deal with and some parking issues to deal with. However, I think everything’s under control now.”
Binghamton Mayor Rich David said that the city of Binghamton has also been reaping the benefits of April the giraffe’s popularity.
“In general, I think it’s definitely been good business for Binghamton and there’s no sign that this will subside anytime soon,” David said. “The Harpursville area is maybe a 20-minute drive from Downtown Binghamton, so without question this has provided exposure with regard to Binghamton inside and outside New York state.”
April the giraffe and her son Tajiri have also captured the attention of various media outlets including The New York Times, People Magazine and USA Today.
The two giraffes have also helped make a young boy’s dream come true. Alex Johnson, 11, who has suffered a brain injury, epilepsy and has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, traveled from Avon, Ohio to have his wish of meeting April and Tajiri granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
— Nikki Brown (@nikkibradio) June 7, 2017
Patch also wrote that the park has heard many accounts from watchers about how the livestream affected them.
“Daily, we hear stories of avid cam watchers; some of their tales are lighthearted and fun, others tell us true struggles the cam helped them overcome including grief, anxiety, and health concerns,” Patch wrote.
Patch believes the livestream became so popular because it was something positive people were able to enjoy together during a time where many people in the country are divided.
“The Giraffe Cam provided an intimate window into a natural process, that none of us were in control over, and allowed people to rally around April and her calf,” Patch wrote. “It became a safe haven, a distraction, a positive.”