COAL VALLEY, Ill. (Nov. 21, 2017) – A desire to support wildlife conservation and education efforts has inspired Bob and Blenda Ontiveros of Moline to fund a new giraffe shade structure at Niabi Zoo.

The new shade structure will replace the existing, inadequate shade umbrella at the center of the giraffe exhibit. The $40,000 grant comes from the Robert and Blenda Ontiveros Non-Endowed Donor Advised Fund held at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, and will cover most of the cost of the improvement.

“The new shade structure for our giraffes will be large enough to create a meaningful retreat from our hot Midwestern summers,” says Lee Jackson, director of Niabi Zoo. “The generous gift from the Ontiveros family will make a tremendous difference in the wellbeing of our animals and further our overarching mission of conservation, education and preservation.”

The shade structure will be purchased and installed prior to the 2018 season reopening in April. A dedication will be scheduled in Spring 2018 to celebrate the generosity of the Ontiveros family and updates to the giraffe habitat.

“This is precisely the kind of professional leadership and community support that empowers our district to fulfill our mission of connecting people with natural wildlife and landscapes,” says Kai Swanson, Rock Island County Forest Preserve president. “Bob and Blenda Ontiveros are an inspiration to many, including myself.”


About Niabi Zoo

Niabi Zoo is currently closed for the winter season and will reopen in April 2018.

Niabi offers an opportunity to explore more than 40 acres that encompass 200 animal species while enjoying the countryside of Rock Island County. This exploration guides guests through the discovery of more than 600 animals from around the world. The Zoo places great emphasis on educating both children and adults about the importance of conservation and how they can play a part in saving species and their ecosystems for future generations. The educational center is an important part of their mission to connect the community with the natural world through conservation leadership and engaging educational experiences. Niabi Zoo strives to instill a sense of care and understanding for wild animals in each and every visitor as they work in the community.For more information about the Zoo, visit

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