CVIC Hall: Where the wild things are
Izod the alligator showed off his winning smile to a capacity crowd Wednesday in the CVIC Hall.
In celebration of the end of Douglas County Public Library’s summer reading program, the Animals of the World event featured an alligator, kangaroo, serval, lemur, great-horned owl and an African pyxicephalus bullfrog.
“We want people to have an appreciation for the animals, and an understanding that these animals are not where they belong,” said Gabe Kerschner, director of Wild Things, Inc., a nonprofit wildlife rescue near Auburn, Calif. “Our facility provides a home for injured wildlife. Each one of these animals has a story of why they are at the rescue and not in the wild.”
Prior to the show Genoa resident Karen Sacherman and her 4-year-old son Benjamin waited patiently to see the animals — specifically the kangaroo.
“If she didn’t have a baby, I’d ride in her pocket,” Benjamin said of his favorite animal.
“He is in love with kangaroos, so this is perfect,” Karen said. “I’m so thankful to be able to come to an event like this. “
During the show, Karley Forgatsch, 10, looked like the Statue of Liberty holding her arm up for Archimedes the owl to perch on her fist.
“It was really fun holding the owl, of course it wanted to get out of here,” Karley said of how Archimedes silently flapped his wings. “I can’t believe it was under two pounds. It was cool because I’ve only seen one in the zoo.”
As Kerschner introduced Samantha the lemur, the Madagascan primate licked his nostril to say hello.
“There are 27 known species of lemur, and all of them have two things in common,” he said. “One, they are only in Madagascar, and two, they are disappearing from the wild.”
Dewey Hopper, the African bullfrog, was the smallest of the animals.
“He’s special for many reasons, but I want to tell you one,” Kerschner said. “Where he lives in Africa, half the year it’s rainy and half the year it’s dry like a desert. Right before all the water evaporates he digs into the mud, covers his whole body in a white, slimy mucus bubble and sits there for six months.”
The audience gasped with amazement as the 6-foot, 110-pound Izod was brought out and set on a table.
“Would you guys like to look inside his mouth?” Kerschner asked. “I’ve never done this before, but I saw it on Animal Planet last night.”
As he strained to open the massive jaws, Kerschner asked the audience to say the magic words, “open sesame.”
As Izod’s mouth opened, Kerschner talked about different alligator abilities.
“He can hold his breath for a whole day,” he said. “And he can go one year without eating.”
After the show, 11-year-old Chris Manning was all smiles.
“It was so cool. I liked the serval, the alligator and the owl,” he said. “I loved the owl because the eyes and how he can turn his head really far.”
Alex Wood, 8, was impressed by the alligator, lemur and the owl.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Lemurs and owls and alligators are great. Owls are cool because they hoot, and have a cool name.”
For 6-year-old Jocelyn Allworth, the lemur was her favorite.
“I liked when it jumped,” she said. “I also liked the cat (serval). It’s cute.”
The alligator captured Phillip Ybarra’s attention.
“It was a great show, but I really liked the alligator,” the 9-year-old said. “It was really cool to discover new things about it.”
Organizers said the crowd of more than 300 is the largest they have had for a library event.
The library’s summer reading program had 889 children, and 144 teenagers participate.