Since the Dallas Zoo began its Adopt-an-Animal program early last summer, the response from the community has been tremendous. For those who haven’t heard, it’s a program in which “parents” help pay for the care and feeding of their special animal and in return receive adoption certificates.
During the first two months of the project, the zoo received more than $26,000 to help defray its $250,000 annual grocery bill.
“The public is having a lot of fun with the program,” says zoo spokesman Bill Stewart. “People take pictures of their animals, ask when their birthdays are and hold parties for them at the zoo. One lady even asked if a Cabbage Patch doll could adopt an animal.”
Two-thirds of the adoptions are gifts among family members, Stewart says. Businesses are also getting into the act, adopting animals as mascots or giving adoption certificates as gifts for retirement or a job well-done. One family adopted animals that they thought looked like them, including a long-beaked echidna (an Australian marsupial).
In addition to the adoption certificate, Stewart says, the parents receive a free subscription to the Dallas Zoo Report; an invitation to the Zoo Parents Party, which will be held this year on November 3; a listing on the Zoo Parents Honor Roll at the zoo’s main entrance; and the “satisfaction of supporting their favorite animal.”
Adoptive parents have ranged from a Girl Scout troop that saved money to adopt an animal to Dallas businessman Trammell Crow, who adopted an elephant. During the first two months, 350 animals were adopted by 275 parents. Adoption costs range from $10 to $2,000, and a shared adoption is possible. Many animals are still available for adoption, such as a two-toed sloth, a marabou stork and many reptiles.