Zoo Reptiles Find home In Olds
The Olds Gazette - Wednesday, October 4, 2000 - Staff Writer
Wrappin About Reptiles, an Olds company that
is gaining national reputation for it's reptile
educational program, has become home for
a number of the Calgary Zoo's reptiles. The
reptiles had to be relocated when the Calgary
Zoo made the decision to demolish their reptile
house to make room for a new Africa Exhibit.
Dean Harper, owner of Wrappin About Reptiles
said that when he first heard the rumours
that the Zoo would be demolishing the reptile
house he made a visit to the Calgary Zoo
with a mission to learn more about the inner
workings of the zoo's reptile house.
It is his goal to build a reptile facility
in Olds that would become a tourist attraction
and educational facility. (Earlier this year
Harper and his partner James Barbas made
a presentation to the Town of Olds Corporate
Properties committee as a way of informing
the town of his future plans). That initial visit to the Calgary Zoo and
conversations with the head keeper at the
reptile house opened up the opportunity to
acquire some of the zoo's reptiles. Harper was pleasently surprised when he received
a phone call asking if Wrappin About Reptiles
would be interested in taking some of the
Zoo handlers completed a site visit to Olds
and after thoroughly checking out Harper's
handling procedures, cleanliness of his facility
and health of his reptiles, zoo officials
informed Harper that he would be receiving
a total of 10 reptiles from the Calgary Zoo
"I was really impressed with the fact that the zoo really cared about where their reptiles were being relocated," said Harper. After a flurry of activity, that included the construction of more cages, Olds became the new home for, 2-Three Toed Box Turtles, 1-Eastern Box Turtle, 2-Gulf Coast Box Turtles, 2-Ball Pythons, 1-Boa Constrictor, a Savannah Monitor and a 6 foot Iguana called "Picasso".
In addition to the reptiles the zoo also
presented the Olds company with educational
materials that will be used when Harper and
Barbas visit schools. "What impressed the Calgary Zoo was
our educational component of our company,"
When it comes to Picasso, the 6 foot long Iguana, it will be Harper's wife Maureen who will do most of the handling. "Picasso is used to a female handler." said Harper. The new additions will soon be on the road as part of school educational visits.
In addition to the educational portion of Wrappin About Reptiles, the company has gained a reputation in the movie industry. Harper and Barbas along with a collection of reptiles have worked for a number of major Hollywood studios, inclucing Disney and Paramount in Canada.
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