Animal Adventure Park reopens for the season with new giraffe, Desmond

New York News

HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVT/WSYR) — Wednesday was the opening day for Animal Adventure Park, with tons of new, exciting options for guests and animals alike during its ninth season.

After a year of COVID, the park is looking forward to things starting to return to a sense of normalcy again. Locals—along with visitors from throughout New York and about a dozen other states—came to visit their favorite animals.

Jordan Patch, the owner of Animal Adventure, said the focus has been on the Australian section of the zoo. Visitors can look forward to a new Aussie Outpost, where they can walk amongst the boxing marsupials.

The start of each new is also baby season. On Wednesday’s opening day, a baby reindeer was born. The reindeer is a male and has not yet been named.

Launching without the beloved April the giraffe definitely leaves a lot of people with empty hearts. After the loss of April, the park was able to bring in a new baby giraffe named Desmond.

Desmond is about a year and a half old and was out and about enjoying lots of carrots from visitors. Bringing Desmond in brings the total number of giraffes back up to 4. Though it’s too soon to tell if the female giraffe, Johari, is pregnant this baby season, she said Desmond may have a new friend in the future.

Patch says you can call it “Giraffic Park.”

“Desmond is adjusting great to our crowds, we didn’t know exactly what to anticipate but he was welcomed with open arms by many people today and is doing just fine with that warm welcoming. He’s adjusted to living with his companion, Taj, and we’re looking forward to a great season with him,” Patch said.

Tajiri is the calf of April. They captured the hearts of millions of animal lovers from around the world who anxiously awaited Tajiri’s birth on YouTube.

Jean Hamilton traveled all the way from Connecticut. She says has lost track of how many times she’s been here. “Desmond is very cute. I’m glad Taj has a friend,” she said. “It opens your heart just a little bit more and gets rid of the sadness of losing our sweet April. It really helped. It really made everybody smile.”

While April’s death devastated many, it seems like Desmond has already captured the hearts of many more. He made his way from the Milwaukee County Zoo to become Taj’s lifelong companion. The two zoos started talking about the appropriate placement and pairing of the two young bachelor giraffes in what they say is a relatively natural transition away from their mothers to a nomadic bachelor lifestyle.

Normally, male giraffes cannot be in the same area together. Since Desmond is still a baby and Taj just reached that mature age, there is no issue with them being together for the time being. When male giraffes leave their mothers, they often form bachelor groups in the wild and roam together.

The park is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They say they will have much more to share about about future plans for the giraffe program throughout the season.

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