Giraffes stretch out into spring

April 6, 2011 (BROOKFIELD, Ill.)

Brookfield zoo's giraffes have been inside for five months. Since November they haven't been able to stretch out, but on Wednesday they were let into the outdoor exhibit. And they stretched. And stretched- legs, necks and all.

"Yes, I think they do know. I think all the extra activity and the placing of the hay and the treats going on exhibit so I think they know today's the day their going to get to come out," Amy Roberts, curator, said.

The story is done every year, but the running of giraffes symbolizes the beginning of spring and the end of cabin fever. They start out slow, but the 16-foot-tall giraffes soon gallop into springtime.

"It's a little nerve wracking to watch them run because it looks a little out of control. But they're just having a great time getting that extra energy out," Roberts said.

The giraffes have an unusual pace, but it's a happy one. "I know you can't say that animals are happy or not but I really feel they are enjoying this."

Wednesday's run was even more memorable after one of the giraffes gets goosed.

"The geese here can be very territorial because they're probably nesting out there and our young female giraffe Jasari got too close and got chased off," Roberts said.

The Canada goose may have won this round, but next time the goose might just get giraffed.

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