• U.S.

Americana: And a Fish in a Fir Tree

1 minute read

Christmas shopping got you down? Too much tinsel and ticky-tacky? The Chicago area’s Brookfield Zoo has the answer: give your loved ones a Siberian tiger, or perhaps a rhinoceros. Under the scheme, the zoo has put up all 2,000 of its animals for “adoption,” although they stay in the park. You can make someone a “Brookfield parent,” or become one yourself, by donating money to help the hard-pressed zoo keep going. Prices vary. Parental rights, of a sort, to the Siberian tiger go for $1,800 a year; the rhino costs $2,000. Says Joyce Gardella, a Brookfield official: “Right away we were out of hairy-nosed wombats.” Price per wombat: $25.

The biggest fund-raising effort at Brookfield has been for Olga, a 19-year-old, one-ton Atlantic walrus, who likes to squirt water at visitors. Because she is so expensive to keep, Brookfield is letting anyone share Olga for a donation of $15. So far the zoo has raised $13,000, enough to feed Olga 55 Ibs. of herring and mackerel a day throughout 1980. It also covers the expense of Olga’s Christmas tree: a fir decorated with fish.

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