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Niabi Zoo improvement offers extra shade to giraffes

The giraffes at the Niabi Zoo have a new shelter to help keep them cool during the summer.

COAL VALLEY, Illinois -- The giraffes at the Niabi Zoo have a new shelter to help keep them cool during the summer.

A shade structure was unveiled Wednesday, June 5, next to the feeding deck, according to a statement from the zoo.  The structure will allow the giraffes - named Kenya and Twiga - and guests to find shade during daily feedings.

The structure was funded mostly by a $40,000 grant from Bob and Blenda Ontiveros from Moline.

"We are so incredibly grateful for that generous gift from the Ontiveros family," said Lee Jackson, director of Niabo Zoo. "The addition of the shade structure improves the space for Kenya and Twiga. They now have a meaningful retreat during these hot summer days."

“We felt a great urge to support wildlife conservation and education efforts,” said Bob Ontiveros. “What better way to do that than in our own community! We are thrilled to see Kenya and Twiga enjoying the shade, and we’re even more excited that locals can learn about these incredible creatures in our very own home town.”

World Giraffe Day is June 22nd.  The Niabi Zoo plans to celebrate the day with activities, training, feedings, and zookeeper chats.  The zoo was also planning to hold special events that weekend. "Breakfast With The Giraffes" will be June 22nd and "Brunch With The Giraffes" will be June 23rd.  Click here for event information.