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Marine World Starts Move to Vallejo

September 30, 1985

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) _ Moving 500 animals to a new home 56 miles away is a job fit for a Noah, but officials of Marine World-Africa USA think they have the problems licked.

The 17-year-old animal park closed its Redwood City facility Sunday, and will be opening a bigger park in Vallejo next year. ″We’ve outgrown this facility,″ said Peter Gross, director of land animals. ″It’s outdated.″

Getting the animals safely to their new home posed logistical problems and worries for their health, park officials said.

They decided to spread the move over two weeks beginning today, using trucks, trailers and a barge.

″We’ve got it (the move) down to a science,″ said veterinarian Laurie Gage.

For most of the animals, the trip will be by road and will take about an hour. The journey for the ponies, llamas, camels, sheep and goats will be made on a 240-foot barge and is expected to take six hours.

″Most of the animals will be moved under cover of night to create the least disturbance,″ said park spokesman Jim Bonde.

Moving the killer whales will require the greatest finesse, Bonde said. A crane will lower a sling into their tank and the whales will then be loaded onto a foam-bedded truck holding a small amount of water. The whales will be sprayed throughout the trip.

The possibility of injury to the animals during the trip is greatest with hoofed stock like the antelope, he said.

″You can’t just herd them like cattle or horses,″ he said. ″They’re absolutely wild.″

The average height of the park’s giraffes is 13 feet, providing adequate clearance at freeway overpasses, Bonde said. The animals can grow to be 19 feet tall, which would have been a problem, he said.

Not all the animals will make the journey.

Some small fish will be thrown back into San Francisco Bay. Six spider monkeys went to an animal park in New York’s Catskill Mountains and three swans were taken to the Auburn Regional Park.

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