(June 21, 2016) — Thanks to a generous $1 million sponsorship from Osage Casino, the Tulsa Zoo will expand its giraffe barn for Lexi, Pili and Hekaya, and for future additions to the herd.
The sponsorship will allow the zoo to more than double the indoor space, add year-round viewing and make improvements necessary for a multigenerational herd, says Terrie Correll, Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc., president and chief executive officer.
Construction will begin in early 2017 to more than double the size of the giraffe barn, taking it to 2,000 square feet, from the current 800. The expanded barn will feature three new individual stalls and a large community stall. Wider doors and adjustable feeders will allow the barn to better accommodate a variety of giraffe heights and sizes.
“Our reimagined barn will include indoor viewing, to ensure our guests can see our giraffe herd no matter the weather,” Correll says.
The expanded barn is scheduled to be ready for move-in in late 2017.
The Osage Casino Giraffe Barn is an example of the Tulsa Zoo’s direction in animal exhibits and commitment to seek ways to do more for the animals in zoo care.
“The Tulsa Zoo is committed to rebuilding and improving every exhibit space to ensure the best in habitat and care for our animals. This is possible because donors like Osage Casino are willing to support our efforts to build a bigger, better zoo,” Correll says.
The zoo in late April welcomed Hekaya [heck-eye-uh], a nearly 2-year-old male giraffe from the Bronx Zoo. Hekaya has been behind the scenes to acclimate to his new environment. He now joins Lexi and Pili, female giraffes who are 9 and 7, respectively. Hekaya was born July 6, 2014, at the Bronx Zoo.