One of Sara Hurt's passions is taking photographs, especially of animals.
That's one reason Hurt has become a frequent visitor to the Oklahoma City Zoo, visiting six times last summer alone. She enjoys photographing the diverse array of animals, and she also sees it as a way to give back.
Hurt is a professional photographer, and she sells her photos to help raise money for a zoo hospital project.
“I've always been a big animal lover, and the facility they have now is very small and they have a lot of animals,” she said. “When you see it you can definitely see the need for a larger clinic.”
Hurt specializes in photos of newborns and senior pictures. She has also taken photos of dogs and cats for rescue organizations.
“I love spending time at the zoo and it's a great way to give back and take pictures of something different,” she said.
The hospital project will cost an estimated $9 million. ZooFriends executive director Dana McCrory said about 80 percent of that has been raised.
The 22,000-square-foot facility will provide more kennel space and separate spaces for food preparation that can be logged by computer and displayed on LCD monitors. It will also be an interactive experience for visitors who will be able to view some procedures from a gallery inside the hospital.
The campaign began with a $1 million pledge from the Kirkpatrick Foundation. The zoo has contributed an additional $4.5 million. McCrory said an additional $700,000 will be needed to meet the goal.