Little Giraffe Causes Big Controversy - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Little Giraffe Causes Big Controversy

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Sharon Steelman is speaking out for those she says don't have a voice.

"Someone has to be an advocate for the animals and that's why I am here today," says Steelman.

She joins a handful of others who are spending their Saturday afternoon in front of Zooworld, protesting the size of the facility's enclosures. One drawing particular attention, the home of "Baby G, " Zoo World's newest giraffe.  

"I feel like our zoo doesn't have the room for a girafee period," says Joanna Lawrence. She says when Zoo World's giraffe, Sydney, died last August the facility should have seen that as an opportunity to expand.

"There is just not enough room for the other animals as well," explains Lawrence. "If you look at the Arctic wolves, they're pacing their pins. So when Sydney passed, that area could have been part of the expansion."

Romney Speerschneider organized Saturday's protest and says it's not only about the giraffe. "The giraffe has given the animals less room, we would like to see all the animals have more room."

"All the enclosures we have here exceed what is required by the U.S.D.A and by Florida Fish and Wildlife.

Tom Walling is the curator and Assitant Director at Zoo World.

I've been here 21 years and I've grown up with a bunch of these animals," says Walling. "And every decision we make is going to be with the importance of the animal."

Walling says while some enclosures at the park have already been enlarged, "We have other enclosures that it would be difficult to make larger because of the footprint of the zoo," says Walling. "So the next step would be to make it better make it more of a habitat. "

However he says when it comes to expanding Baby G's home, the zoo is exploring its options.

"It takes money, it takes support," says Walling. "If I have somebody walk in here and give me $100,000, then we could go forth with that expansion, but it takes money support and labor."