Again, if anyone sees this, please comment below. Matty, Jeff, and I are willing to share the wealth of food we have available.

Written by Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director – September 30, 2024

It’s not ours to share.

Jeffrey Holmes, MFA 09/30/24


This is not the only infection to strike animals close to our hearts. We used to have three Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) at Ahanu. A trade was made about a year before my lovely wife, Rose, took over the director’s position. A pack of penguins, six in all, were traded for a young, female reticulated giraffe in hopes of baby giraffes and renewed visitor numbers. The penguins went to Texas. Texas sent us a giraffe, Mimi.

Ahanu had a shorter quarantine protocol for new animals back then. We didn’t even know Mimi had a de-worming resistant parasite – Haemonchus contortus – until she died. Rose was director by then, and she suggested that I report the story on the website, one of my first posts here. So, I was there when the veterinary students at U of I opened her up, cutting through the thin skin of her belly.

Mimi’s neck was too long for the necropsy table, but someone had lifted her horse-like head onto a stool, up off the tiled floor. Her patterned neck was a low rope bridge leading up to her once strong shoulders. No one had closed her eyelids over her big, brown eyes, but she was gone inside. They found the long, white parasites crawling in her intestines.

Twiga and Kenya, our other giraffes, were infected as well. But alas, we could not de-worm a de-worming resistant parasite. When they join Mimi in death, we will dig up their home, an empty grave at least 10 feet down, and rebuild it anew for a new generation. That was the plan. Before.

Now, Twiga and Kenya huddle in their enclosure against the autumn chill. They knew this was coming. But how were we mere humans to know the difference between the restlessness of caged animals and the restlessness of prophets?

Written by Jeffrey Holmes, MFA – September 28, 2024

Jeff, please come back to the house.

Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director 09/28/24

At least let Matty come back.

Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director 09/28/24

I won’t let him starve in there with you.

Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director 09/28/24

It’s okay, Dr. Hanson-Holmes. I want to be here, closer to the animals. We have food from the other deep freeze. Jeff has been telling me stories to pass the time.

Matthew Robins, Summer 2024 Intern 09/29/24

I’ll keep him just as safe as you would. And the animals too. Whatever you might think, or think you know, I can handle it. Matthew and I will be just fine.

Jeffrey Holmes, MFA 09/29/24

By the way, he doesn’t like it when you call him Matty. It’s not his name. He’s a young man. Not a child.

Jeffrey Holmes, MFA 09/29/24

Like you know anything about children.

Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director 09/29/24

If you are seeing this…

If you are seeing this, if you have a generator and access to internet like us, please contact me. We can help each other. Our cars have been stolen. I have access to a golf cart with half a tank of gas if you are nearby. We have been sharing our remaining animal’s food supply. It’s been in the deep freezer and is untouched by infection. It’s not fresh meat, but it’s viable.

Written by Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director – September 4, 2024

Please contact us if you’re out there. We’ll be checking this site about once a month to save the limited electricity we have.

Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director 09/04/24


Mom, Dad, Vicky, I’m safe. I’m not at my apartment anymore after the looting. Dr. Hanson-Holmes and Jeff have agreed to let me stay with them until this blows over. We have enough clean food to eat for now.

Written by Matthew Robins, Summer 2024 Intern – September 1, 2024


My husband and I are located in the cabin just outside the zoo’s eastern fence if anyone is in need of food.

Written by Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director – August 31, 2024


Do not approach the gates of Ahanu Zoo. All visitors (including family members of staff) must contact Director Hanson-Holmes in advance. A hazmat suit will be provided for you.

Written by Matthew Robins, Summer 2024 Intern – July 4, 2024

Is everything okay? Are you safe?

Patricia Robins 07/04/24

Hi Mrs. Robins. Don’t worry, this is just a precaution.

Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director 07/05/24

How will Ahanu be able to bounce back from this?

Katie Court, Fairless Times 07/05/24

Seems like an awfully cautious precaution.

Katie Court, Fairless Times 07/05/24

Care to comment, Director Hanson-Holmes?

Katie Court, Fairless Times 07/05/24

Are you receiving my emails?

Katie Court, Fairless Times 07/05/24


Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director 07/09/25


Several people have expressed concerned for our more exotic animals. Rest assured, they are healthy. They don’t typically come in direct contact with one another or humans. Our staff is working around the clock to ensure their safety while this infection runs its course.

Written by Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director – June 19, 2024



Marissa the cow was given to us by a local farmer last Christmas after our old girl, Beatrice, passed away. Marissa and Beatrice are remembered by their friends, Joey the goat and Henrietta the hen. We mourn their losses like we mourn our own.

Written by Jeffrey Holmes, MFA – June 18, 2024



If you have come in contact with an animal from the Ahanu Petting Zoo in the last 14 days, please see a doctor immediately. Spongiform proteopathy spreads quickly, and we now know it can also transfer between humans and mammals beyond domestic pets such as cats and dogs. From the bottom of my heart, I apologize for not taking proper precautions when this infection first appeared. Through this struggle, I hope Ahanu and Fairless Hills as a whole can recover and come back stronger than ever.

Written by Dr. Rose Hanson-Holmes, Director – June 18, 2024