Aeriel Niccum | Assistant News Editor
August 28, 2014: 10:33 a.m.
“It’s just a fun way for students to come out as they’re getting acclimated,” said Elise Schmidt, president of the Campus Activity Board, of the petting zoo held yesterday.
The event was hosted on the Evans Commons Lawn and featured both domestic and exotic animals such as Nigerian goats, a kangaroo, a spider monkey and an eland (a species of antelope). The animals were contracted through A to Z Animal Adventures, a family-owned petting zoo business in south Kansas City, Missouri.
Feed was provided free of charge for students who wished to feed and pet the animals. Hand sanitizer and wet wipes were also available for cleanliness.
Owner Jerry Aswegan assured that all of the animals were well taken care of in their pens.
“Everything is about the animals,” said Aswegan. “The pens are big enough that the animals can get away and not deal with people if they want. The feed is a ten percent molasses feed that’s like candy to them, but they can’t get sick over it.”
Aswegan also assured that his business is fully licensed to practice as a petting zoo. In fact, all of the animals are his family’s pets.
“All of these are our pets, we just don’t go to sell barns and buy them,” said Aswegan. “Almost every exotic here has been bottle raised.
To do something like this you have to be a USDA licensed facility. The federal government comes to inspect you two to three times a year; they can inspect you out on the road. And you know, if you do something like this in public, you should be that way.”