Oswego State alumna cares for April, calf

The world followed the pregnancy of April the giraffe and millions watched her give birth to a male calf on Saturday. Allysa Swilley, an Oswego State alumna, is one of the few who cares for April and the new calf.

Swilley graduated from Oswego State in 2015 as a Zoology major. She currently works at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, taking care of giraffes April, Oliver and their calf.

Caring for the giraffes has put Swilley in the national spotlight, gaining a following of people who admire her love and dedication while caring for the giraffes.

Junior Russell Cox said seeing an Oswego State alumna taking care of one of the most famous animals right now is inspiring.

“One day I want to work with animals and seeing someone who graduated from here get as famous as she is, is incredible,” Cox said. “It makes me want to work even harder than I do now.”

Millions of people watched April give birth to her fourth calf via a live webcam that was installed in her pen. The Animal Adventure Park Giraffe Cam that captured the moment April’s calf entered the world on YouTube had more than 14 million views on Thursday.   

Animal Adventure Park is asking for help to name April’s calf while raising funds. Anyone can go to nameaprilscalf.com to enter and vote on any name for the calf. In order to vote for a name, participants must pay $1. The top ten names will be revealed, followed by another round of voting. At the end of voting, the zoo will reveal the winning name and donate the funds raised to three causes.

The funds will be split between the Giraffe Conservation Efforts in the Wild contributing to the Giraffe Conservation, Ava’s Little Heroes which is an event named after the daughter of the park owners, and the Animal Adventure Theme Park to continue to improve the animal and guest experiences. 

Cox said if it were up to him, he would name the calf Richard.

Sophomore Kervans Lerouge is a zoology major and said he wants to one day be a veterinarian and work with animals when he gets out of school.

“[Oswego’s Zoology program] has the prerequisites I need for vet school,” Lerouge said.

He said he is inspired seeing Swilley as the caretaker for the world famous giraffe.

“I am inspired because seeing the new born giraffe being delivered reminds me why I decided to be a zoology major,” Lerouge said.

Photo provided by The Alumni Office via Allysa Swilley