Posts Tagged With: donor

Public gets to name Dallas Zoo’s baby giraffe

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Mom Chrystal shares a touching moment with her new calf, whose name will be chosen by a public vote, thanks to a generous donor. Cathy Burkey/Dallas Zoo

Mom Chrystal shares a touching moment with her new calf, whose name will be chosen by a public vote, thanks to a generous donor. Cathy Burkey/Dallas Zoo

The donor who paid $50,000 to name the Dallas Zoo’s baby giraffe is opening the choice up for a public vote! Starting Wednesday, Nov. 5, we will launch a voting contest on our website bit.ly/DZName, where participants can select from three names chosen by the donor.

For the first time, we put an animal’s naming rights up for bid during a live auction at our annual fundraising gala, Zoo To Do, last Saturday. After a spirited auction, the winning bidder paid $50,000 to name the male calf, born Oct. 26.

“We’re very grateful to this special donor, and are happy to set this up to involve the public and local schools,” said Gregg Hudson, chief executive officer and president of the Dallas Zoo. “There is very high interest in this new calf and we can’t wait to see what his name will be.”

Mom Chrystal nurses her calf in the giraffe barn. Dallas Zoo/Cathy Burkey

Mom Chrystal nurses her calf in the giraffe barn. Dallas Zoo/Cathy Burkey

The generous donor, who is a longtime zoo supporter and animal lover, wishes to remain anonymous, but has requested that the public be involved in the naming of the giraffe. The voting contest also will benefit Dallas/Fort Worth area children. Voters will be asked to nominate a DFW-area school they’d like to win a free animal visit from our Animal Adventures team. The winning school will be randomly selected.

The donor has selected the three following African names:

  1. Kopano – from Botswana, meaning “united”
  2. Usawa – “equality” in Swahili
  3. Shingo – “neck” in Swahili

Voting ends Sunday (Nov. 9), at 5 p.m. The winning name and school will be announced Monday, Nov. 10.

The entire $50,000 will go to conservation groups helping giraffes in the wild. Fewer than 4,700 reticulated giraffes remain in Africa, and the Dallas Zoo has long partnered with various groups to help protect endangered species around the world. The zoo’s animal welfare team is currently working to determine which groups will receive money from the donation.

Born just over a week ago, the Zoo’s energetic 6-foot-tall giraffe calf is doing well. Over the past few days, he’s had brief introductions with the rest of the zoo’s 12-member herd. His first-time mother, Chrystal, is embracing motherhood tremendously, keeping a watchful eye over her calf at all times.

Categories: Africa, Conservation, Giraffe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Special donor makes unforgettable contributions

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We’ve been part of her life — and her budget — since 1989, when Carrollton resident Linda Balkey made her first donation to the Dallas Zoo. And it didn’t stop there! Since 1995, Balkey has donated $25 every single month, and it’s a handwritten check every time.

Balkey holds African penguin, Opus.

Balkey holds African penguin, Opus. Dallas Zoo/Chelsea Stover

She proves that no matter how small, every donation counts. “The Dallas Zoo is just a part of my budget. You don’t have to do a lot. I just felt called to do more, and this $25 I just won’t notice,” she explained.

But we’ve noticed. Each month when we open Balkey’s handwritten check, we wondered, ‘who is this woman?’ We wanted to know more about her, so we invited her out for a special day at the Zoo.

When we greeted her at the front gate, it felt like we had known her for years. “The Dallas Zoo has a soft spot in my heart,” said Linda, a retired second-grade teacher. “You all are like teachers, heroes — people don’t appreciate you enough. But I appreciate you stepping up and taking care of animals when the vast majority of us can’t.”

Her day began with a behind-the-scenes tour of the giraffe barn. Giddy as she fed the giraffes crackers, Balkey acknowledged it’s been too long since she had been to the Dallas Zoo. “I was a member when my kids were young, but that stopped when they grew up and moved away,” she said. “But I’ve kept up with you guys, and I’m so proud of your changes.”

Those changes couldn’t have happened without support such as hers. We visited our African black-footed penguins next, where Balkey got to hold and feed Opus.

Balkey feeds giraffe Auggie. Dallas Zoo/Chelsea Stover

Balkey feeds giraffe Auggie. Dallas Zoo/Chelsea Stover

When we learned tigers were her favorite animal, we knew we had to take her to their off-exhibit home. Her face lit up, and when we entered, it was if the tigers knew how special she was to us. Sumatran tiger Batu showed off, lounging in his pool, rolling over on his back and chuffing loudly (tiger lingo for “talking”).

We are immensely grateful to all of our donors, especially those who stay with us through the years. But we need you, too! On Oct. 1, we’ll launch our Decision/Donate 2014 Annual Fund campaign, where you can make a donation and vote for one of our candidates for our Animal Board of Directors! Stay tuned here on the ZooHoo! blog and on our social media sites for details.

 

Categories: Conservation, Giraffe, Penguins | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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