- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - Battle Creek’s Binder Park Zoo has broken ground on two new exhibits connected by the lives of two young people.

The zoo held a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday for a new viewing area for its current group of African wild dogs, the Battle Creek Enquirer (https://bcene.ws/213YwTu ) reported. The family of Andrew Zanetti, who died in a 2010 accident at age 26, donated a significant portion of the exhibit’s $400,000 cost.

“I wanted something to memorialize Andrew,” Zanetti’s father, Frankie, said at the zoo Sunday. “I wanted something to keep giving.”

Frankie Zanetti’s company will provide tiles for a mosaic depicting animals in an African national park for the outside of the viewing area.

Binder Park Zoo also held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a new lion exhibit. Yasmin Pirbhai, 11, of Kalamazoo raised $30,000 for the exhibit through a door-to-door campaign, matched donations from her parents and her mother’s employer, Merrill Lynch, and picking up sponsors for her climb on Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro.

“I want to help show those people lions because they’re amazing creatures that everyone should be able to see,” Pirbhai said. “Especially kids who don’t know yet how amazing creatures they are until they see them.”

She said she frequently visits Tanzania, where her father grew up and her grandmother still lives, and has seen lions in the wild from a very young age.

The two exhibits will share a plaza in the zoo’s Wild Africa area and will be connected by a chute that allows the animals to experience changing territory.

The wild dog exhibit could open by the end of summer and the lion exhibit is expected to open sometime next year.


Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, https://www.battlecreekenquirer.com

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