Two fundraising campaigns for the project are planned this summer.
The bridge, which stretches above the habitat and allows patrons to feed the giraffes, has become a safety concern said Bill Gersonde, director of the Abilene Zoo. Gersonde, in his third year as the zoo director, has 30 years of zoo experience.
The Abilene Zoo two female giraffes soon may not only gain a bigger habitat but some male companionship as part of a $3 million renovation project formally announced Thursday.
More than $2 million already has been raised for the project, which will include a much larger exhibit area for the East African animals, said Sara Core, president of the Abilene Zoological Society. Core attributed the funds to donations from local foundations and businesses. project will double the current exhibit space from 7,000 to 14,800 square feet.
Gersonde, who said giraffes generally live 25 to 35 years in captivity and 12 to 15 years in the wild, said there another reason the current bridge has to go.
The zoo two female giraffes Asha, born in 1998, and Punk, born in 1999 are valuable, zoo officials said, and Gersonde is hoping to bring in New Era Nashville Predators a 7 year old, 18 foot tall male to breed with the females sometime in the future.
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signs, in addition to receiving a card and a badge.
The new bridge, which will put the giraffes heads within easy reach of the public, will be constructed to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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think it would be great and enhance the experience, said Katie Decker, who was visiting Abilene top tourist attraction Thursday with her children, Duke, 5, Adidas Hat Red
3 million giraffe exhibit expansion may include another long neck
male giraffe we thinking of is too tall to go under the bridge, he said. putting an obstacle in there that could be potentially dangerous if they startled. everything goes as scheduled, Gersonde said, construction will start behind the scenes of the current exhibit this fall and the giraffes will be moved from public display in fall 2014. The new exhibit is expected to be completed by spring 2015.
The proposed renovation was greeted warmly by some zoo members.
For a one time membership fee of $35, children ages 3 to 13 can join the Tall Neck Club and receive a plush giraffe, a tour of the giraffe new barn upon completion, take part in the first group to feed the New Era Snapbacks On Head
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