Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
PRESS PHOTOS BY JENNIFER BODISCHCyndi Lansberry, a specially trained handler at the Lehigh Valley Zoo holds “Bean” the sloth as Chichi, Evan, and Connor Gavigan of Easton and Lillian Khan of Nazareth look on in amazement. Bean was one of the Ambassador Animals featured at the “Wild at Heart” event held Feb. 12 at the zoo to raise funds for a pair of Makai giraffes scheduled to arrive this spring PRESS PHOTOS BY JENNIFER BODISCHCyndi Lansberry, a specially trained handler at the Lehigh Valley Zoo holds “Bean” the sloth as Chichi, Evan, and Connor Gavigan of Easton and Lillian Khan of Nazareth look on in amazement. Bean was one of the Ambassador Animals featured at the “Wild at Heart” event held Feb. 12 at the zoo to raise funds for a pair of Makai giraffes scheduled to arrive this spring
Parkland High School sophomore Christine Hutchinson and seniors Brittany Gelp, and Aathira Jayamohan performed classical music during “Wild at Heart” helping to create a soothing atmosphere in the Bison Lodge. Parkland High School sophomore Christine Hutchinson and seniors Brittany Gelp, and Aathira Jayamohan performed classical music during “Wild at Heart” helping to create a soothing atmosphere in the Bison Lodge.
Cydnee Valentine and her real life valentine’s date Matthew Gould of Allentown take their chances on one of the donated prizes being raffled at “Wild at Heart” on Feb. 12 at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. “This is my Valentine’s Day present,” said Valentne. “I love animals, so he surprised me with this perfect date.” Good job, Matthew! Cydnee Valentine and her real life valentine’s date Matthew Gould of Allentown take their chances on one of the donated prizes being raffled at “Wild at Heart” on Feb. 12 at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. “This is my Valentine’s Day present,” said Valentne. “I love animals, so he surprised me with this perfect date.” Good job, Matthew!
It is hard to tell whose eyes are wider, Cochise, the great horned owl handled by Cyndi Lansberry, or 11-year-old Patty Stires, who traveled to the zoo from Phillipsburg and has a fascination with “hootie hoots” as she affectionately describes them. Cochise was one of the Ambassador Animals featured at the “Wild at Heart” event at the zoo to raise funds for a pair of Makai giraffes scheduled to It is hard to tell whose eyes are wider, Cochise, the great horned owl handled by Cyndi Lansberry, or 11-year-old Patty Stires, who traveled to the zoo from Phillipsburg and has a fascination with “hootie hoots” as she affectionately describes them. Cochise was one of the Ambassador Animals featured at the “Wild at Heart” event at the zoo to raise funds for a pair of Makai giraffes scheduled to
Logan Brown, a third grader from Catasauqua likes snakes, but he looks a little apprehensive when handler Tim Reichard hands him a Black Rat Snake. Logan Brown, a third grader from Catasauqua likes snakes, but he looks a little apprehensive when handler Tim Reichard hands him a Black Rat Snake.
Benjamin O’hara, a 4- -year-old from Alburtis meets Nanu the skunk, an Ambassador Animal featured at “Wild at Heart” event held Feb. 12 at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. Benjamin wasn’t too sure, however, when Brandon Eckerd, a handler at the zoo, encouraged him to pet Nanu. Benjamin O’hara, a 4- -year-old from Alburtis meets Nanu the skunk, an Ambassador Animal featured at “Wild at Heart” event held Feb. 12 at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. Benjamin wasn’t too sure, however, when Brandon Eckerd, a handler at the zoo, encouraged him to pet Nanu.

Zoo holds ‘Wild at Hearts’ fundraiser for masai giraffes

Monday, April 24, 2017 by JENNIFER BODISCH Special to The Press in Local News

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.