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Falk welcomes giraffes to Henry Vilas Zoo

For more information contact:

Joanne Haas, Office of County Executive, (608) 267-8823
Jim Huber, Director of Henry Vilas Zoo, (608) 266-4732

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 8/14/2007

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Cooperative agreement involving 4 zoos behind delivery

Two of three young male giraffes today officially took residence in their newly renovated exhibit area at the Henry Vilas Zoo, thanks to an agreement involving four accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums zoos.

“I am pleased to welcome these giraffes to our wonderful zoo,” Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said at a Tuesday morning news conference when two of the expected giraffes were unveiled and the newly renovated exhibit was opened. “I also want to publicly thank the four zoos – and that includes our own Henry Vilas Zoo – which worked so hard together to make the arrival of these incredible animals possible.

“Our giraffes have always been among our most popular animals, and we’ve missed them,” Falk said. “I am among the zoo fans thrilled to welcome home our new giraffes.”

Henry Vilas Zoo Director Jim Hubing also credited the cooperative spirit among the zoos that made the giraffes arrival possible. “This is an excellent example of accredited zoos working together to connect visitors and animals,” Hubing said.

Two of the three giraffes, Sweta and Zawadi, arrived from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo. The third, Jabari, is slated to arrive later this month from the Buffalo Zoological Gardens in New York.

Hubing said the Minnesota Zoological Garden in Apple Valley, Minn., will own Sweta and Zawadi, loaning them to the Henry Vilas Zoo with the understanding the animals may spend the summer of 2009 at Minnesota. Jabari will be owned by the Henry Vilas Zoo.

Henry Vilas Zoo’s giraffe exhibit has been “rebuilt inside and out,” Hubing said. The improvements include heated and slip-resistance floors, improved ventilation, an enclosed visitor viewing area and a newly landscaped outdoor exhibit area.

The Henry Vilas Park Zoological Society is raising $255,000 to pay for the exhibit’s improvements.

“The giraffes are transported in specially designed trailers to give them a safe and comfortable ride,” Hubing said. “The animals spend the first days after their arrival indoors where they will get acclimated to their new surroundings. Then, they are released into their outdoor exhibit.”

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