Primate Freedom: Giraffes in Wisconsin

Keeping giraffes in Wisconsin is like forcing a polar bear to live in Amazonia; problems are inevitable.

In Wisconsin, famous for it’s long bitter winters, animals adapted to the tropics are kept indoors during the long cold spells. Forcing animals who are obviously designed for walking to stand in place for days, weeks, and even months at a time is matter-of-factly cruel and inhumane.

A few years ago, giraffes at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconin, were killed when it was determined that their chronic joint disease was untreatable. Killing them was the “humane” thing to do.

Giraffe Dies at the Henry Vilas Zoo
Eau Claire, WI
Nov 17, 2006

A second giraffe has died in less than a month at the Henry Villas Zoo in Madison, a victim of a degenerative bone and joint disease that officials say afflicted his entire family.

The 7-year-old giraffe named Raymond Junior, or RJ, was euthanized Tuesday after severely rupturing his hip joint, making him unable to stand.

His 12 year-old father Raymond had been euthanized under similar circumstances a month ago. It was predictable and to be expected. Now there are more giraffes at the Vilas Zoo. Their joints are probably corroding away from inactivity even as I write this. They’ll be “humanely” killed and new ones will be acquired at some point. Now this:

Two giraffes die in barn fire at Wisconsins Dells park
Wisconsin State Journal

WISCONSIN DELLS — A fire Sunday night destroyed a barn and killed two 4-year-old giraffes at the Timbavati Wildlife Park on Wisconsin Dells Parkway.

Kilbourn Fire Chief Scott Walsh said the fire was not suspicious but is under investigation by Wisconsin Dells Police.

Walsh said nothing was left of the barn that housed the two giraffes. The animals had been shut in the barn, he said, and no one was there when the fire started to open doors to get them out.

Giraffes don’t belong in a barn anymore than an eagle belongs in a aquarium.

Primate Freedom: Giraffes in Wisconsin.


2 thoughts on “Primate Freedom: Giraffes in Wisconsin

  1. Giraffes in barns? Burned alive with no way out and no assistance? Humans . . . are so stupid sometimes. Animals do NOT belong in the entertainment industry period. I pray that in 2013 MANY MORE animals will be transported from zoos, circuses and theme parks to sanctuaries. Thanks for the informative post.


  2. Mark Schoebel owns the Timbavati Wildlife Park in the Dells. If not for the greed of the Wisconsin Dells board, he never should have been licensed. He gets poor reviews by the tourists for his abysmal treatment and housing of the animals. He is a wildlife trafficker who lives in Marquette county where he has an unknown number of lions, tigers, bears, exotic, and even endangered and indigenous animals under his control for personal profit of somewhat over a half million dollars.
    In the book Animal Underworld, by Alan Green, Schoebel is documented taking truckloads of native black bears across state lines to slaughterhouses in Illinois. As soon as wild animals in zoos get past the cute baby stage, Schoebel moves in to remove them to roadside zoos, private ownership or slaughterhouses and replaces them with new cute babies. This is the back door out of sight side of zoos that the public has been complicit in ignoring for so long. You can read more in a column I wrote on Schoebel here: The Timbavati should be closed and replaced with humane education of a public ignorant of their part in keeping these facilities going.


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