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New Year's Eve: Dutch giraffes soothed by pop music

Dutch obsession with New Year's Eve fireworks rattles giraffes at Netherlands zoo; only pop music can calm the animals.
new years eve giraffes 12 31 2011Enlarge
Unlike the urban giraffes of the Netherlands, this family of wild giraffes in Africa is not forced to listen to pop music in order to mask the terrifying sounds of New Year's Eve fireworks. (Jacqui Deelstra/GlobalPost)

It's New Year's Eve at the zoo, your neighbors are going crazy with fireworks, and the giraffes are spooked. What do you do?

At Amersfoort Animal Park in the Netherlands, staff tune into Radio 2, a public radio station that plays pop music, and crank up the volume.

According to Agence France-Presse, the Dutch celebrate New Year's Eve "by forking out vast amounts of money on fireworks in a pyrotechnics frenzy that turns some city streets into virtual battlefields."

The five giraffes at Amersfoort zoo are understandably rattled.

Spokesperson Josien van Eijk told Agence France-Presse that the zoo had tried various things to get the giraffes to chill out, but pop music was the winner.

"We found that pop music works best to calm the animals down and the bangs become more background noise," she said.

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Many pet owners in the Netherlands drug their animals to keep them calm, AFP said.

To crack down on the fireworks extravaganza, authorities have set a limit of 22 pounds of fireworks per person.

Last year, some $84 million in fireworks were sold ahead of New Year's celebrations, DutchNews.nl said.

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