Yes, you read that headline correctly; Milwaukee has canceled Groundhogs Day 2008.
The groundhog died.
The groundhog at the Milwaukee County Zoo (what is considered by many, one of the premiere zoos in the country) died in June.
Walnut was euthanized and the zoo is now groundhogless.
And they haven’t gotten a replacement yet.
It’s not like groundhogs, or woodchucks, don’t simply run rampant in the wild here in Wisconsin. We had a family of them living in our backyard at our old place! It’s not like the zoo simply couldn’t catch one that is probably already roaming loose on the grounds. Heck, they even had the Groundhogs Club of Pewaukee volunteer to trap one.
Coincidently, it’s the Groundhogs Club of Pewaukee’s 100th anniversary. They’ve been coming to the zoo on Groundhogs Day since 1946. But despite the big event and the huge celebration they had planned for that 100th, the zoo remains adamant. They don’t want any old groundhog; they want a friendly one.
The groundhog, you see, is used at the Education Center where kids can meet animals up close and personal. Last thing the zoo wants is a kid getting mauled by an unruly groundhog.
And yet, from what I’ve heard, Walnut wasn’t the most huggable of animals either.
Doesn’t it seem odd that a world-class zoo, one that’s had rare albino tigers, had visiting pandas, and had the world’s largest lowland gorilla, Samson, can’t find one freaking friendly groundhog?
I hate to point it out; I am after all a huge fan of the zoo and a member of the Zoological Society. It’s one of my favorite places to take the kids and I’ve been going there since, well, forever, but the zoo dropped the ball on this one and now there won’t be any Groundhogs Day in Milwaukee.
And as a result, the city of Milwaukee gets another black eye and ends up looking bush-league. Again.
But not having Groundhogs Day might not be all bad, after all with no Groundhogs Day, maybe then no one will air that silly movie with Bill Murray. I can dream, can’t I?