Women buy giraffe for local zoo

By Oona McGee

One group of middle-aged women in Hokkaido have now done something that no one ever imagined they would: They raised over 54 million yen and bought a giraffe for their local zoo.

The story began after an ordinary trip to Kushiro Zoo, when the grandson of housewife Yoko Sakamoto noticed the absence of a certain long-necked mammal. The boy’s dismay at not being able to see his favorite animal spurred her into action and she decided to collect money and give the zoo a giraffe.

With 50 million yen as the target, she set about organizing fundraising activities but soon realized that someone with experience and drive would be necessary to see the mission through.

That’s when Reiko Tsurukawa stepped in. Known locally for her charm as a popular boutique employee, she had recently been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. She took the challenge by the furry horns, seeing it as a source of positive energy during hours of gruelling radiation therapy.

Under Tsurukawa’s guidance, the group enlisted the help of community leaders and received enormous support from the local community. Eventually, the group was able to purchase Sky, a young giraffe from nearby Obihiro Zoo.

Not resting on her laurels, Tsurukawa is now learning sign language so she can help hearing impaired visitors learn more about the animals when they visit the zoo.

Sources: Valley News, Kushiro North Rotary Club

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Zoo Trains for Animal Escape by Tranquilizing Guy in Zebra Suit -- Rodin’s “The Thinker” goes thoughtless in Japan -- Man Reviews Cute and Girly DS Fashion Game

© RocketNews24

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Woah. Way to go, ma'am.

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Good on the woman!! But I can't stop laughing because it reminds me of the opening scene of "Hangover 3". I hope they will tranfer the giraffe safely over the roadways.

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That's a nice story. BTW - normal zoos in Japan are such depressing places.

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The cute animals get pampered. The rest are left to walk in their own **** and become mentally disturbed, pacing back and forth in their cages.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Encouraging to see these women stuck their necks out for this.

As an aside, I've noticed herbivores do much better in zoos than carnivores or omnivores. The giraffes at Kumamoto Zoo have necks long enough to reach down and grab my lettuce offerings with their purple (!) tongues.

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The last time I saw a real giraffe it was not a place that could be called a zoo. It was more like a ranch, and I did not feel bad for the giraffes like I do most zoos. The lemurs were penned in a fairly small place though, along with some other animals.

So when I hear that another animal was purchased for a zoo, it does not warm my heart. And for anyone whom it does, I would like to see how you do for a week in a cage with a concrete floor in winter like I have seen so many animals doing for their lives in Japan.

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I don't understand why humans pay to see wild animals stuck in small cages. It's cruel. Do you even know how they catch them? Do you know how they are treated ? All of this for humans divertissement. How can you support this lady??? I've never been to a zoo and I don't want to go. It grosses me out.

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The zoos that I've been to take good care of their animals, but I also live in the US. Most of the animals in the zoos are capitve bred animals, around humans their whole lives. Zoos have been a part of every culture for centuries. Honestly I'm glad that the woman did something that could bring joy to many, though the unknown future for Sky is exactly that unknown.

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