The livestream became the second most-watched stream in YouTube’s history at the time of broadcast, garnering more than 232 million views and 7.6 billion minutes of live watch time over the course of several months.
It was also sponsored by the retailer Toys R Us, in a nod to its official mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe.
In a statement shared to social media, Animal Adventure Park said that April’s latest vet exam revealed that her arthritis had accelerated, leading them to conclude that euthanasia was the “humane and appropriate course of action”.
“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.
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“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.
“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 post reads.
With the irreversible condition advancing “at a rapid rate”, it was decided that euthanasia would be the “most humane decision” to take, and she died on Friday aged 20.
People were quick to mourn the giraffe’s passing on social media, with many remembering the livestream four years ago:
More than $150,000 was generated in an online fundraising campaign for April, with money going towards the care of the mother, her mate and her calf.
Following the completion of an animal autopsy – known as a necropsy – April will be cremated, with her ashes returned to Animal Adventure Park.