Sponsorships, fewer animals targeted by Hollywild

By Alexa Hone, Media Intern
Published on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Enlarge photo

Mandela, left, and lioness

File Photo

Mandela, left, and lioness "Icis" marked Hollywild Animal Park's entry into an international breeding program last March.




Hollywild Animal Park officials pleaded poor finances and, for the second time this week, challenged the public to help fill its coffers to care for more animals than it has food or staff to maintain.

“Today is not about the worst that’s going to happen, it’s about talking about the best option,” Kim Atchley, executive director of Hollywild, said.

Atchley announced a $500,000 fundraising effort in the next 10 months or the park could possibly face closure. The park will remain open through December, the peak season for admission, with its Christmas Safari Lights exhibit, Atchley said.

Atchley and a sparsely filled room of board members and friends of the animal park publicly pushed for community and donor funding at a forum held at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning.

The plan for the 100-acre nonprofit animal park is to raise $500,000 this year and $250,000 annually to feed, house and upkeep facilities and habitats for the more than 500 animals. Atchley said park admissions, about 90 percent of the income, aren’t factored in the fundraising.

Officials reported the park was $150,000 short of its 2015 projection and the 120,000 visitors averaged annually, was down last year.

“We will see this year through and the assessment of finances will be ongoing,” Atchley said.

Naming rights and sponsorships to the park and animal exhibits are options, Atchley said in answer to a question. “We are open to be claimed.”

Park officials quantified the food needed:

• 2.3 million gallons of water,

• 900,000 pounds of hay,

• 73,000 pounds of grain,

• 43,000 pounds of meat,

• 2,500 pounds of bird food,

• 52 trailer loads of breads.

That doesn’t include veterinarian services and annual park repairs or construction.

More than a dozen full-time employees work at the park and about 200 work seasonably and part-time.

Nigel Platt, Hollywild’s curator, is planning to determine if some overpopulated animals will be welcome at other parks or zoos to make Hollywild’s care more cost-effective. It also allows Hollywild to build partnerships with surrounding zoos and animal preserves.

“Hollywild is a jewel of the upstate, that we don’t need to let go of,” said Jack McBride, chief executive officer of Contec, Inc., and frequent park visitor.

Other comments included the park being an asset for visitors to experience the ability to touch, hear, smell and learn about the animals.

Park officials began the year agreeing to pay $18,964 in fines for 15 violations of the Animal Welfare Act after a two-year U.S. Department of Agriculture investigation. There have been no reported violations this year.

Hollywild has also been under repeated pressure by animal rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals calling for federal officials to remove the animals.

Hollywild will reopen on weekends March 5 and daily beginning in April. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children (2-14).

• Want to help? Complete an online survey at www.hollywild.net 



Related Photo Galleries

Leave a Comment

Trending: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Obituaries, Chon Restaurant, Allen Bennett Hospital


View All Events