April the giraffe, zoo keepers share special bond

Image 1 of 7

Anyone who has watched the live giraffe cameras from Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York knows the keepers at the zoo love the animals.

On Wednesday, the live cameras - and tens of thousands of people watching - saw another sweet moment between zoo keeper Alyssa and the giraffes, April and Oliver.

During a live video posted Wednesday morning, the world was officially introduced to zoo keepers Alyssa and Corey. That evening, Alyssa shared some snacks with the giraffes, and kisses with April.

Alyssa felt the side of April's belly, likely examining the baby inside, and then gave her some smooches on her side.

According to Animal Adventure Park's live video, Alyssa has a bachelors degree in zoology from Oswego State University of New York, and will have been with the park for two years this May.

When asked, Alyssa said her "dream animal" is a rhinoceros, because, during an internship in South Africa, she worked with rhino conservation groups and fell in love.

Animal Adventure Park workers say Alyssa's relationship with April the giraffe is unique. Workers at the park say other conservation programs have reached out to ask about April's calm demeanor when keepers are in the stalls. 

Alyssa said, "We've just hit it off," adding the relationship felt natural and comfortable from the beginning.

Another keeper named Corey, who some online referred to as a "kid," also helps with April. He has been with the park since it began almost five years ago. 

Corey went to high school near the park, and said he hopes to one day own his own zoo.

When asked, Corey said he could not pick a favorite animal, but loves working with carnivores, especially Zuri the spotted hyena.

Watch the full interview with zoo keepers here:

Meanwhile, in a Wednesday evening update, Animal Adventure Park said there was not much physical change in April, but there was still significant and visible baby giraffe movement.

"Watch closely for strong kicks from within!" park workers wrote in a Facebook post.

The park said keeper and vet reports document tail raising and holding - a behavior many live stream watchers have noticed.