Baby giraffe lives with owner at Lawrence County's Living Treasures
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 20:06
NEW CASTLE, Pa.-- The newest resident at Lawrence County's Living Treasure's Animal Park is the owner's roommate. Levi, the park’s first baby Reticulated Giraffe, bunks with the owner, Adam Guiher. The reticulated giraffe is among the most well-known of the nine giraffe subspecies. Its coat consists of large, liver-colored spots outlined by a network of bright white lines that sometimes appear deep red and may also cover the legs.
This living arrangement is the first known instance of a human and giraffe living together. Guiher worked with Amish contractor and engineers to designed and built a 4000 square foot building that is home to both Guiher and Levi. Living Treasures is just off Route 422 near McConnells Mill State Park. Part of the structure is a one story room with a 24 foot ceiling which is Levi’s indoor shelter whereas the other half is a two story, two bedroom, two bathroom house which Guiher now calls home.
The two halves are linked by an indoor observation deck where Guiher can visit and monitor Levi any time of the day. Levi can roam the home's yard where he spends most of his time under close supervision of park staff. Guiher has full view of Levi from his outdoor deck and patio as well as through several large windows throughout the home. According to Guiher, there are endless benefits to having such a close relationship with the world’s tallest animal.
"Giraffes are one of the most difficult animals for zoos to house and care for," Guiher said in a news release. "Due to their requirements and their extreme size, up to 18 feet tall and weighing up to 3500 lbs."
In this situation, Guiher is able to develop a unique bond with the animal which makes the giraffe’s day to day care much safer and smoother.
Levi was born at a zoo in upstate New York on Black Friday and, measuring 6 feet tall, came to Living Treasures shortly after birth. Now at six months old Levi is already 9 feet tall and will continue to grow rapidly over the next three years. Park visitors have the opportunity to view pet and feed Levi from his outdoor yard where he typically spends his days.
Guiher has made already made arrangements for Levi to get a female companion sometime in the next few months whom will also live at his home and yard. In addition to Levi, many other animals are now calling Living Treasures home including Grace a baby zebra, a colony of Egyptian Fruit Bats, very rare Red River Hogs and many more. In all, over 300 animals of 75 species call Living Treasures home.
Over the 2011-12 off-season from November to March, the park underwent the largest expansion and renovation project in its 20 year history at the 30 acre nature park. Included were dozens of newly renovated areas as well as the construction of the giraffe area, the most unique project in park history. The facility offers rare interactive experiences where visitors are encouraged to meet, pet and feed hundreds of animals in a safe environment instead of viewing them from a distance as is typical of most zoos. Living Treasures in New Castle is open
More information is available by calling 724-924-9571 or at www.ltanimalpark.com.