APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Zoo said it won't repeat its African exhibit that drew huge crowds last summer, citing the exhibit's high costs and the unexpected deaths of two animals as factors.
Officials had hoped to bring it back, but say that won't happen -- at least before 2009.
"It was a picture of Africa, and the public loved it," said Tony Fisher, animal collection manager. "But it's an expensive exhibit. This year we're sticking our money in the renovation of the Minnesota Trail, and next year it's the new Russian exhibit."
The exhibit included cracker-eating giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, ostriches and gazelles. Fisher said the exhibit seemed to satisfy the public's desire to see African animals at the zoo, which focuses mostly on animals from the Northern Hemisphere.
During the exhibit, August attendance was the best in eight years, and zoo attendance through October was 38,000 ahead of the previous year. Revenues increased by over 10 percent, according to an October report from zoo director Lee Ehmke.