Get ready to say 'awww': 5 animal births that became an Internet sensation

April helps her newly born unamed baby giraffe stand at the Animal Adventure Park, in Harpursville, New York, U.S. April 15, 2017.
April helps her newly born unamed baby giraffe stand at the Animal Adventure Park, in Harpursville, New York, U.S. April 15, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Social media was abuzz over the weekend when April the giraffe finally gave birth.

A live stream had been set up on Feb 10 so that the world could look on as the 15-year-old reticulated giraffe awaited the arrival of her fourth calf at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpusville, New York.

The big moment came on April 15 (Saturday), slightly before 10am (10pm Singapore time), and over one million viewers from all over the world were logged on and watching on YouTube when the male calf was born.

Here are five other births that got the Internet going gaga over animal babies. 

1. Fiona the hippo


Fiona the hippo swimming at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. PHOTO: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Baby hippopotamus Fiona was born prematurely on Jan 24 at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. It was a difficult birth, with Fiona weighing just 13kg when Nile hippos usually weigh 25 to 55kg when they are born. 

She was too weak to stand and the critical care team at the zoo had to nurse her round the clock away from her mother Bibi.

But fans of the little hippo on social media showered her with support and love through encouraging messages, with the zoo and various news sites giving constant updates on her progress.

One of Fiona's biggest milestones was the day she took her first steps.

With her making good progress, it will not be long before she is reunited with her mother. 

2. Mohan, Raj and Phinju: Red panda triplets

What is cuter than a red panda? Three red pandas.

Born on Christmas Eve 2016, the triplets Mohan, Raj and Phinju made their public debut at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Sydney, Australia, on April 5.

Due to deforestation and destruction of their natural homes, red pandas are currently an endangered species, with fewer than 10,000 of them left in the world. Panda triplers are rare, with only seven other occurrences of such births in Australia over the last 30 years.

After their first public appearance, the three little pandas have quickly gone viral online and become worldwide sensations.

3. Quintuplet hedgehogs


A mother hedgehog together with her newly born hoglets at Ramat Gan's Safari Wildlife Hospital. PHOTO: RAMAT GAN SAFARI

After getting hit by a vehicle in Rishon LeZion, Israel, a female hedgehog was brought to Ramat Gan's Safari Wildlife Hospital earlier this year. 

An X-ray showed why the little critter was clinching on to life - she was pregnant with five hoglets.

She recovered quickly and gave birth on March 23.

The hedgehogs became famous when videos of their progress and daily activities were posted on the wildlife hospital's Facebook page. 

4. Nora the polar bear


Nora the polar bear at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. PHOTO: COLUMBUS ZOO

Nora made it big online when a video of her first 83 days went viral after being released by the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. 

When the polar bear was born in November 2015, the zoo launched an appeal online to name the new cub. More than 88,000 votes came from 115 countries.

The winning entry was a combination of her parents’ names, Nanuq and Aurora.

Her birth was significant because polar bear births in captivity were relatively rare, with a 50 per cent survival rate in their first weeks of life. 

Nora now lives at the Oregon Zoo in Portland.

5. Amani the gorilla

In May 2016, the death of Harambe,  a western lowland gorilla shot at the Cincinnati Zoo for dragging a boy who he fell into the moat, shocked the world. 

Three months after his death, Philadelphia Zoo held a social media contest to name its newborn gorilla. Not surprisingly, many users suggested the name Harambe, Harambe II, Harambaby or Harambae.

But the zoo had said it was not going to name the baby girl after the dead gorilla.

It chose instead Amani, the name of an orphaned eastern lowland gorilla rescued by the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo.