Hollywild showcases survivors of fire, $150,000 deficit

Published on Saturday, September 26, 2015

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Baboon “PJ” was given fruit treats and mini pumpkins.


Baboon “PJ” was given fruit treats and mini pumpkins.


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Siberian bear Cyrano is healthy and weighing over 100 pounds, according to park officials.


Siberian bear Cyrano is healthy and weighing over 100 pounds, according to park officials.



Survivors of the primate barn fire that happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 9 were brought out to the media Thursday. And a plea for more contributions was sounded with admissions declining and the park’s shortfall at $150,000 and counting, according to park officials.

“It’s taken us these months to really assess the impact of the fire beyond the structure that was damaged,” Kim Atchley, executive director, said.  “It’s been a really tough year.  People have called every day to see if we’re open.

“For every person that takes the time to call, we’ve seen the bottom line impact of the many that don’t.  Admissions are down by half and we’re short $150,000, an amount that continues to grow.  As a nonprofit organization, that’s a tremendous gap to fill, let alone try to finish the work on the primate barn or many other projects and needs we have.”

“Seeing the survivors and all the other animals at the park thriving is what keeps the staff going during hard times.  “Every animal here deserves the best we have to give and they’re getting that,” Atchley said.  

The park is open weekends through Oct. 25 and will prepare for the 25th annual Holiday Lights Safari season.

Carnivore keeper Laura Salzhauer brought out “Lady” an almost 10-month-old wolf pup, one of two puppy survivors to meet the media. 

Baboons “PJ” and “Priscilla” were given fruit treats and mini pumpkins as toys and treats were handed to them by keeper Jay Gossett.  

The Syrian bear cubs “Terra” and “Cyrano” lost their sister in the fire.  The two are healthy and  weighing in well over 100 pounds each.  Gossett fed them grapes, their favorite treat.  

Animal staff member Hunter Christopher brought out one of the large tortoises, “Speedy.” The tortoises had damage to their shells, but show no ill effects now, having received special treatment and shell conditioning through the year, according to park officials.

“With such a gap between revenue and need we are really struggling, and of course have not had the extra funding needed to get the barn finished,” Atchley said. “We haven’t filled our empty animal homes attached to the barn because it wouldn’t be responsible.  We simply can’t add to our animal family if we can’t meet their needs in the winter and we really want to keep those we have on-site rather than have to send them to off-site quarters for the winter.  They need to see the familiar faces of the keepers they’ve been with all season.”

Atchley said the “Winter is Coming” campaign has been launched asking for funding from the surrounding communities and businesses.

For more information call 864-472-2038 or visit the park’s website.



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