Executive Interiors creates life-sized giraffe for Fresno Chaffee Zoo

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Construction is underway at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo's new African Adventures exhibit, and one local business is helping take it to new heights. (KFSN)

Construction is underway at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo's new African Adventures exhibit, and one local business is helping take it to new heights.

Machines are moving and pieces of wood are being cut at Exterior Interiors in East Central Fresno. Each piece is not much by itself, but together, it will become a giraffe that will eventually be placed in the Fresno Chaffee Zoo's new African Adventures exhibit.

Tim Russell with Executive Interiors said, "Everybody in Fresno, any visitors that go to Fresno that's going to be one of the first things they see when they walk into that facility. It's really neat."

Tim is excited that his company is making seven of these life sized giraffes, which will be placed at the zoo's savannah. It takes 25 hours to make just one eight foot tall statue. It starts with a design on the computer, then raw lumber is cut and shaped. At that stage Tim's older brother, Steve Russell, takes over carving it by hand. Steve works on the facial features very carefully to bring it to life.

"We had to find a lot of pictures of giraffes to reference," said Steve. "They always say artists are touched a little different, so I'm probably touched a little different."

Steve says while he has spent many hours woodworking, seeing the final product take shape has been rewarding.

This giraffe and several others will make their public debut when the zoo opens the African Adventures exhibit in October.



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