Lehigh Valley Zoo is getting new residents in 2016, with the addition of two Masai giraffes. Giraffes are becoming overwhelmingly popular with zoo lovers. Beyond the unique frame, long neck and African heritage is an engaging animal. The Masai giraffes’ home at Lehigh Valley Zoo will feature opportunities for zoo guests to get up-close and personal with the animals, who are easy to interact with through feeding stations that will be built into an elevated platform.
“We are so very excited to announce our efforts in bringing these Masai giraffes to Lehigh Valley Zoo, marking one of the biggest expansion efforts the Zoo has undertaken thus far,” said Melissa Borland, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Zoo. “The Association of Zoos and Aquariums have already chosen two young male giraffes coming from a zoo in Kansas City. However, the Zoo’s ultimate success will come from the efforts of the community to embrace and support Lehigh Valley Zoo during this historical moment.”
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. Work is already under way on the new exhibit, as architectural and engineering firms are already laying out plans for this new space at Lehigh Valley Zoo.
The giraffe exhibit is just the beginning of a three-stage, three-year growth plan at Lehigh Valley Zoo. The goal is to develop a comprehensive Africa-based experience with new exhibits for animals including, but not limited to a lion, hyrax, wildebeest and tortoise.
About Lehigh Valley Zoo
As a non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoo is eleven years young, but as a treasured community landmark, our history spans over a century. Lehigh Valley Zoo, located in the heart of the Trexler Nature Preserve, is home to more than 325 animal ambassadors representing over 125 species. The Zoo’s animal collection includes 22 species collectively managed through Species Survival Plan Program™ (SSP), administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). As a means to share important conservation messaging with Zoo guests and contribute to field conservation, the Zoo contributes to, participates in, and initiates wildlife conservation programs at home and in the field. The Zoo’s full-circle conservation projects spotlight: Spotted Turtle (local), Eastern Spadefoot Toad (local), Mexican Gray Wolf (national), African Penguin (international), Scimitar-horned Oryx (international), Prehensile-tailed Porcupine (international), and Aoudad (international).
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Zoo hosts year-round family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. During the 2014 calendar year, attendance reached over 175,000. Lehigh Valley Zoo is proud to be listed as an educational improvement organization under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC). Open year-round, the Zoo was voted Best Family Day Trip in The Morning Call’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2009-2014 and Best Family-Friendly Outing in Lehigh Valley Style’s Best of the Lehigh Valley 2014 and 2015. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.