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Council approves building off-exhibit holding area for giraffes at Abilene Zoo

By Michelle Frizalone, mfrizalone@ktxs.com
Published On: Jul 25 2012 06:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 26 2012 09:12:19 AM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

The Abilene City Council this morning approved the building of an off-exhibit holding area for giraffes at the Abilene Zoo.

Funding for the project is going to come from the Abilene Zoological Society, which will pay for 100 percent of the project.

"At this point in time we don't have any place if we wanted to get a new giraffe," Abilene Zoo Director Bill Gersonde said. "We don't have a place to quarantine it. We're kind of looking in filling in a gap that needs to be addressed."

A board member on the Abilene Zoological Society told KTXS they are looking to expand the exhibit one day.

"Giraffe are kind of our flagship species here at the Abilene Zoo," Gersonde said. "They are very important to us."

The Abilene Zoo's most unique feature is the bridge that allows anyone to feed the giraffes. Daisy Chenoweth is one of thousands of out-of-town visitors at the zoo.

"It's the only opportunity that we've ever had to feed and actually get this close to a giraffe," Chenoweth said.

Chenoweth's family comes to Abilene every year during the 4-H Horse show. Her son described his favorite experience at the zoo, which is feeding the giraffes.

"It's just how their tongues work its like a snake wrapping around the cracker," Chenoweth said.

Zoo goers aren't opposed to the idea of expanding this "unique experience."

"It's a very hands on feeling, so I think more of this would be nice," said Chenoweth.