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Hollywild dilemma: Raise $500,000 or close

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, February 22, 2016

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Hollywood Animal Park is a crossroads – raise $500,000 this year with an annual effort half of that, or close the park and place the animals in a new setting.
 

File Photo

Hollywood Animal Park is a crossroads – raise $500,000 this year with an annual effort half of that, or close the park and place the animals in a new setting.

 



Enlarge photo

Mandela, a rare white lion, was introduced at Hollywild as the park’s entry into an international breeding program designed to secure population of white lions and species diversity for the future,
 

File Photo

Mandela, a rare white lion, was introduced at Hollywild as the park’s entry into an international breeding program designed to secure population of white lions and species diversity for the future,

 

Hollywood Animal Park is a crossroads – raise $500,000 this year with an annual effort half of that, or close the park and place the animals in a new setting.

Kim Atchley, executive director of the non-profit animal park, has called a public meeting for Wednesday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce to discuss the park’s options.

“The fact is that without significant, widespread, and deep community support, Hollywild cannot remain the asset it is and can be. It will have to be closed,” Atchley stated in a letter.”

“This year and the years moving forward do not have to be the same,” Atchley stated. “At present, my personal assessment says we will need to set a goal of $500,000 in fundraising this year with an annual campaign goal of at least $250,000 in future years.”

Atchley stated an alternative plan is to share some of the animals with other facilities. “Making sure that we have a diverse collection to meet our goals as an educational institution while making sure that each animal has a long-term care plan.

“That may well mean sharing some of our collection with other facilities, but we are determined to do what is in the best interest for the animals and our efforts to meet our mission.”

The forum is designed to invite community members to share their goals for the nearly 100-acre animal park. “Where we go from here is entirely dependent upon available resources we have and knowing what the community wants us to be,” Atchley stated.

The South Carolina House of Representatives signed a resolution supporting and honoring Hollywild Animal Park last March.

Atchley acknowledged the park had a tragic 2015:

• 28 of 41 animals housed at the park’s primate barn perished Jan. 9 as the result of an early morning electrical fire,

David Meeks, 68, founder of the park, announced his retirement July 1 as executive director and Atchley was named to fill his spot. Meeks, overcoming kidney removal, continued to help the transition through the year,

$150,000 deficit, admissions decline by half, the park announce Sept. 25.

 • The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Hollywood for a variety of violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) following its inspection of the facilities on Nov. 4.

The park did have two noticeable additions last year.

•Mandela, a rare white lion, was introduced at Hollywild as the park’s entry into an international breeding program designed to secure population of white lions and species diversity for the future,

Nigel Platt was hired as the new curator for the animal department.

 

 

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