Generous zoo patrons give new life to endangered animals
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo carousel gets makeover.
Thursday, January 5, 2012 - 00:55
Photo: Karla Akins
33 endangered animals at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo are safely home again. Thanks to generous donors, the 33 carved wooden figures on the zoo's Endangered Species Carousel were removed last year and rehabilitated at the Carousel Works in Mansfield, Ohio.
In 1994, the carousel was the first of its kind. Dozens of other zoos have since followed Fort Wayne Children's Zoo example and commissioned their own versions of animal-themed carousels.
According to Zoo Director Jim Anders, the carousel is a popular ride, but after 17 years of happy use, the figures were in need of a facelift. The zoo removed the animals in three different groups and substituted carousel horses for the exotic creatures until they were all safely home.
The magical carousel depicts endangered animals from Southeast Asia including peacocks, rhinos, tigers, cheetahs, babirusas, manatees, storks, elephants, panadas, tapirs, sloths, leopards and more. Children and adults enjoy riding the unique creatures on the carousel set to nostalgic organ music.
The zoo receives no tax funding and depends on rides such as the carousel to generate revenue. The cost for restoring the animals to their original glory was $33,000 and funded completely by contributions raised through the zoo's annual campaign and the Zoobilee gala frundraiser.
Other rides at the zoo include the Sky Safari, Zoo Train, River Ride and Pony Ride.
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