On February 24, 2017 the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY started a live video stream via their YouTube channel Live Feed of a pregnant giraffe named April. The park is closed for the Winter season and knowing that April is due to give birth to her 4 calf soon, the park decided to put up a live cam for people to watch April’s progress and limit the number of emails they were receiving.
The park thought the live feed would only attract a few thousands viewers, however, with national news coverage and sharing on Facebook and Twitter, the average viewership is 89,000 and growing. While it has been over two weeks since the feed went live, viewers are still watching and patiently waiting for the birth of the baby giraffe.
Another social media celebrity has been born out of the live feed, Allysa Swilley! Allysa is one of April’s keepers and a Zoologist. Allysa was living a normal life until she became a star through the live feed, where her undeniable love for April is very evident. Realizing the social media buzz about April had skyrocketed, Allysa started posting daily photos of April on her personal Instagram account. In the last 4 days the number of people who follow Allysa on Instagram has increased by 150%. Allysa is taking this opportunity to educate her followers not just on April, but the other animals in the park and bring attention to animal conservation.
While the Animal Adventure Park originally started the live feed to eliminate daily emails about April, they have created national publicity and awareness for the park and their mission. I am not sure if they have a PR Director and if this was all a plan, but the stats show how beneficial a little web cam can be, along with the power of social media and a low-cost investment.