Just a little over a week after a fire took the lives of two giraffes at Roer's Zoofari in Reston, VA, the roadside zoo has reopened today. Although the official cause of last week's fire has not been determined, in a statement, the zoo said they believe the fire was caused by a radiant heater they used to heat the giraffe barn at night.
Roer's Zoofari has not been forthcoming with information about whether the loss of the barn will be covered by insurance. Although the roadside zoo no longer has any giraffes, they plan on continuing to build a new giraffe exhibit, according to their gofundme fundraiser which has reached $39,925. However, it is unclear how Roer's Zoofari will be able to afford to purchase giraffes when they can't even afford to build a giraffe enclosure without relying on donations from the public.
Since reopening under new ownership in 2016, Roer's Zoofari has been cited by the USDA eight times for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Violations include forcing dozens of animals to sit in the sunlight with no shade on a day when temperatures were greater than 90 degrees, and running over an aoudad with a safari bus, injuring it so severely that it had to be euthanized.