Zoo holds ‘Wild at Hearts’ fundraiser for masai giraffes
For those with a love of animals and a desire to celebrate cupid’s holiday with a twist, Wild at Heart at the Lehigh Valley Zoo was the perfect alternative Valentine’s date or family outing.
The event was held Feb. 12 as part of the zoo’s continuing fundraising efforts to bring a pair of long-awaited Masai giraffes from their current home in Kansas City, Mo., to Schnecksville.
Lehigh Valley Zoo’s Development Manager Doreen Carl organized the event and thanked local businesses for their gracious donations including Dickies Barbecue, Upper Macungie; Herr’s and Paisley Peacock Floral Studio, both of Allentown; Nevulis Beverage and Weis Markets, both in Schnecksville.
“These generous donations kept our budget under $75 for the event,” said Carl. “Thanks to the donations of these local businesses, everything we are earning here today is going directly to the giraffes.”
All proceeds from this event and other similar fundraisers bring the zoo one step closer in completing facilities for its new larger-than-life occupants.
With the barns and outdoor areas completed, feeding stations, supplies and food are next on the list.
“It’s been a long process as funding allows,” said Carl. “We now need to complete the feeding deck. We still need to raise about $40,000.”
According to Carl, the pair of male giraffes are slated to arrive late Spring of this year.
The zoo will be an official “holding facility” for the giraffes, which means the Lehigh Valley will be their permanent home, but may be transported to another approved facility temporarily for breeding.
“The giraffes will always have a companion, however, if one of the male giraffes is transferred for breeding, another will temporarily take his place,” said Carl.
Adding to the relaxation and romance of the afternoon was a string trio from Parkland High School and wine tasting from BoosRock Winery, Breinigsville, which accompanied a luncheon menu of pulled pork with sides and valentine-themed cupcakes for desert.
There was something for everyone at the “Wild at Heart” event.
The zoo’s Ambassador Animals were carried by specially trained handlers into the Bison Auditorium and the Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Center, where guests could get up-close and personal while listening to fun facts about the animals and participating in question and answer sessions.
Guests met a tegu, a great horned owl, a sloth, a skunk, a penguin, and a black rat snake to name a few.
There were crafts for kids in the Zoomagination Wing, a basket raffle for adults, and special keepsake items on sale.
According to the zoo’s website, “the Masai giraffe is the largest subspecies of giraffe and the tallest land mammal. There are fewer than 37,000 remaining in the wild, though recent reports of significant poaching and the bush meat trade would suggest the number is likely to be significantly less. The primary threat to the Masai Giraffe is habitat loss as a result of the expanding human population. Lehigh Valley Zoo’s aim is to safeguard a population of giraffes in human care alongside a sustainable population in the wild.”
When the giraffes finally arrive, guests will be able to enjoy an interactive experience through elevated feeding stations while observing these giant and gentle creatures in a natural environment created to specifically meet their needs.
For more information about the Lehigh Valley Zoo, its fundraising campaign and upcoming events visit www.lvzoo.org.