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Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Discussion in 'Fantasy Zoos' started by River Rock Wildlife, 27 Dec 2018.

  1. River Rock Wildlife

    River Rock Wildlife New Member

    Joined:
    24 Dec 2018
    Posts:
    3
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Hi. :D Please help me determine if my ideas are on the right track or if I'm delusional or somewhere in between? Or perhaps better suited to another forum or group?

    I do wildlife rehab in NC as a nonprofit organization. I have 7 acres used to rescue, rehab, and release the native wildlife (squirrels, rabbits, opossums, groundhogs, reptiles, white-tailed deer, etc). It needs constant maintenance, a 1900s barn/farmhouse, but is otherwise functioning well. For 2019 I will be preparing to accept RVS (Rabies Vector Species) if allowed by the changing laws in 2020. I also have the obligatory farm animals (pigs, horses, chickens/ducks, emus, cats/dogs - all rescues) and maintain any non-releasable wildlife as necessary (currently a southern flying squirrel) but NRs will be registered as educational animals.

    I have a further 10 acres of pastured land available for what I hope to be exotic animal rescue. The length of the property has a river alongside it. (A further 200 acres on the other side of the river is my ultimate dream acquisition). I understand there is zoning and permitting paperwork to overcome and have reached out to the proper authorities. I have an exotics vet ready to help out in any way possible.

    I want to be able to take in the exotic animals that people got as pets and no longer want/care for, or from roadside zoos that have been shut down, or exotics that just aren't working out for others, so this ends up being my species list. Any suggestions on where to start with this?

    Down the road, assuming it is suitable for the species and their temperament, I would like to allow the public to visit to learn about the animals, conservation, sustainability, etc. With that being the final goal, should I begin as just a private collector of rescued exotics or go for the exhibitor's licences and start with grand future exhibits/enclosures or somewhere in between?

    I want the well-being of the animals to be the priority. I recently visited a 'roadside zoo' and the animals were all pacing. It was reported but it still really bothers me.

    Current obstacles being local government involvement (so slow!), and finances to jump into the construction phase.

    Thanks for reading and for any advice.
     
  2. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Corpus Christi, Texas
    You should try to contact people who run successful animal sanctuaries and small zoos, see if they'll be willing to give you any suggestions.
     
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  3. BigNate

    BigNate Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully a Zoo
    Only help I can provide is by tagging @Batto .
     
  4. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    to be honest, I'm not even sure whether your idea actually fits into a zoo forum, since you're talking about a private animal shelter, which has different goals than most zoos.
    What unites both (and is true for animal husbandry in general): you will need a constant, reliable and very high income to finance all the aspects you've mentioned (and many more you'll encounter on the progress). Just having visitors won't be enough. What would be your source(s) for said income? I only know of very few private animal shelters that actually generate some profit, such as Gut Aiderbichl and their (very commercial) "Let VIPs sponsor our animals" strategy.
    Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary
     
    Last edited: 31 Dec 2018
  5. River Rock Wildlife

    River Rock Wildlife New Member

    Joined:
    24 Dec 2018
    Posts:
    3
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Thanks for the replies! I have reached out to a few local places but I guess with the holidays they're slow to respond.

    The local ordinances are against private ownership of exotics, so I am hoping to confirm with the county government if it would even be allowed as a registered zoo/USDA exhibitors license to provide a sanctuary; although I can't see why they would deny it. With the recent local lion attacking a keeper there has been an uproar to have stricter regulations - although I don't think it would have made an impact on the incident, just PETA getting crazier.

    Finances are certainly the biggest challenge but I have a strong accounting background that will hopefully be beneficial in the long run, and my husband has his own software development company. I would be careful to grow slowly to make sure any expenses can be covered if outside funding were to dry up....but then not many would certainly want to pay to see a very limited number of animals. Definitely more to think about though.
     
  6. Daktari JG

    Daktari JG Well-Known Member

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    27 Jan 2014
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    Location:
    Las Vegas United States
    You were probably born in a landslide. No escape from reality!
    You should probably decide exactly what it is you want to do- at least to start.
    wildlife rehab,farm rescue and exotic rescue are all very different things.
    And none of them are zoos.
    Personally I don't know of any organization that does all three successfully, though I know of several who have tried. You will always have money problems with that way of life, and while money isn't everything a poorly run underfunded rescue is little better from where most of these animals are rescued from. I'd fund raise via local businesses and rich patrons as much as possible and use any rescues in gofundme to tug at heartstrings.
    If you show long term commitment and dedication and care well for your charges the funds will materialize. But you must promote your organization like its a freaken circus (not as a circus I'm sure you get what I mean).
     
  7. River Rock Wildlife

    River Rock Wildlife New Member

    Joined:
    24 Dec 2018
    Posts:
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    Location:
    North Carolina
    At the moment I do wildlife rescue so that is my main focus.

    I do have some rescued farm residents but will not be expanding that side of things. I mean, I could instead of the exotics, but they're not my main passion.

    I want to be able to accept exotics as needed but not necessarily seek them out. I guess I was seeing the 'zoo/exhibit' part as a way of income AND gaining more attention for the organization. Perhaps it could be to some extent but not as a sole income. Wildlife to be released really doesn't need to be in public contact.

    Typing/talking it out has very much helped in my decision making.
     
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