Staff and visitors alike were shocked Sunday morning to discover that the City’s Zoo animals had been the target of yarn bombing.
Yarn bombing, other wise called urban knitting or guerrilla knitting, is a type of graffiti that uses non permanent knitwear instead of paint to mark or decorate public spaces. It is illegal in many places.
Numerous animals in the zoo we adorned in colourful knitted garments, allegedly put there overnight by a vigilantly group of crafters calling themselves the City Rebel Bombers. Over the past year the group has spontaneously bombed several city parks, the riverfront, downtown and City Hall. Normally, the knitting is just put on benches and trees. This is the first time the group has targeted live animals.
“We were planning to start small, maybe do up some sweaters for the squirrels or the geese down by the waterfront,” said the City Rebel Bombers leader, who cannot be identified, and is known just as Erin. “But once we get knitting, it’s hard to stop.”
“Before we knew it, we had cowls big enough for tigers,” said another CRB member, Mary W. via phone at an undisclosed location. “That’s where the idea came from.”
No one is sure how the knitters managed to get the yarn clothing onto the animals. Sully the head elephant was wearing just a trunk covering, three giraffes had on scarves, Tim the Tiger was wearing a cowl, and the zoo’s main bear, Clive was sporting a full sweater.
“Clive’s sweater was the most difficult,” admitted Erin. “Do you know how hard it is to get the measurements for a black bear? We had to guess, and I admit there was a bit of sewing done at the last minute to get everything fitting right.”
The reactions of the zoo visitors were mixed. Some were amused and amazed.
“We love it,” said Adele Pinks. “We come every Sunday but this is the first time we’ve seen them in clothes.”
Many visitors were quite alarmed.
“Tigers live in warm climates in nature,” said 15 year old George Crumb. “Their fur is thicker than your fuzziest house cat. They don’t need cowls. He’s probably overheated.”
Zoo staff spent much of the morning removing the knitwear from the animals. According to the official statement by head Zooperson Todd Renburger, the zoo was not aware that the bombing was going to happen, nor did they assist in any way.
“We have no idea how the bombers got in,” said Mr. Renburger. “We’re going to be opening an investigation, checking security tapes, and speaking to all zoo staff. Someone could have been hurt. Luckily none of the animals appear harmed, but we’ll be monitoring them.”
Word was out on all social media sites within minutes of the zoo opening, and crowds were pushing through the doors within the hour. Most of them managed to see the bombed animals before they were stripped of their knitting.
“Thanks goodness we got down here in time,” said Jenn McCreany, holding her two young children up to view the Elephant. “This is not just something you’d want to view after on Facebook. The kids are thrilled. We think they should have the animals in knitting every week.”
“Maybe every Sunday at least,” added her husband Matt.