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Tulsa Zoo Close To Finishing Giraffe Barn

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Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- One year after a giraffe died in the cold, the Tulsa zoo is almost--but not quite--finished rebuilding the barn.

The zoo says the barn will include all the heating needed to protect the remaining giraffe, named Sam.

06/29/2010 Related Story: Giraffe Barn Remodel Coming To Tulsa Zoo

The barn's renovation includes new insulation, new doors, radiant floor heating and a forced air heater.

"The previous heater was just one long radiant heating tube, so it would heat the barn but we had difficulty maintaining and constant from floor to ceiling because the barn is so tall," said Terrie Correll.

So tall because the barn has to house Sam the giraffe. Heating an animal this size is a tall order.

"He has to get used to some of the new aspect of the barn, so a new door, we left one in place so he could go into the barn with the one that was familiar and so now he's going in and out of his new doors," Correll said.

The focus on warmth is top priority for the zoo.

Just last January, the Tulsa zoo's giraffe Amira died of hypothermia during an extended cold snap.

1/20/2010 Related story: Tulsa Zoo Confirms Cause Of Second Giraffe's Death

The zoo says they maintain the barn between 60 and 70 degrees. They bring Sam inside and bed him down with extra straw when it gets particularly cold.

"We're confident that this new barn will provide Sam the environment he needs to keep warm during the winter," Correll said.

The zoo isn't done with the remodel of the Giraffe Barn. They say it will be finished by next week

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