LINCOLN PARK — U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) dropped in on Lincoln Park Zoo Monday to visit a new African plains zebra named in his honor.
The zoo added two new male plains zebras to its recently renovated African Savanna exhibit in July, and one has been named Mike in Quigley's honor for his continued support for the zoo.
Quigley admired the animal's political stripes on Monday.
"The Lincoln Park Zoo is a Chicagoland treasure — even more so for me now that they have a Mike in stripes!” Quigley said. “I've visited Lincoln Park Zoo more times than I can count because I believe the more the public learns about our animals, plants and environment, the better equipped we are to play a leading role in protecting our planet."
Zoo President Kevin Bell said the honor was well-deserved.
"Congressman Quigley has been an incredible friend to Lincoln Park Zoo and a staunch supporter of our animal care and conservation efforts,” Bell said. “This is some of the most fun I’ve had in helping name an animal: Plains zebras are lively, brave and never afraid to be a little noisy when it’s needed. This species is a perfect fit for a representative that’s been active in his community and a vocal protector of the planet."
According to Quigley's office, as the lone Illinois representative on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, he's been instrumental in getting federal funding for the zoo's Population Management Center, which helps organize a network of zoos for breeding and transfers, as well as for the Nature Boardwalk.
The 3-year-old zebras debuted at Lincoln Park Zoo in July after coming over from Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach, Fla. They went into the African Savanna exhibit, recently renovated as part of an ongoing $125 million capital campaign, joining the zoo's giraffe. The other new zebra has not been named.
"I want to thank the zoo for thinking of me with this fun and thoughtful namesake, as well as for all the important work it does year in and year out to advance wildlife conservation and help Chicagoans and visitors alike be better stewards of the Earth," Quigley said.
The new pair augments the zoo's zebra population, joining the endangered Grevy's zebras in the old camel and zebra area. Plains zebras are a smaller, more lithe species, also known for their distinctive black nose.