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September is National Save a Tiger Month

Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park gives tigers a new home.

For most of us, when we think of tigers the scene that comes to mind is Malaysia's tropical forests or India's grasslands, not a backyard dog kennel in Oklahoma. That is, however, exactly where the two tigers rescued this month by the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park were found. The tigers will join 173 others on the 54 acres in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

Park Entertainer Joe Schreibvogel, also known as Joe Exotic hopes that this September, designated National Save the Tiger Month, he will be able to raise awareness about the dire state of tigers in the world. "The public is blind to the problem of tigers and how endangered they really are." He says. As the human population grows at a rapid rate and poaching for the illegal sale of skins and bones continues, the number of tigers in the wild grows dangerously low. The world's largest cat is predicted to be extinct within ten years.

"My whole goal is to inspire enough people around the planet." Exotic says. He explains that if every one of the nearly 300 visitors a day to the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park decided to get involved, tigers could escape endangerment.

The zoo has the largest number of tigers held in captivity in the United States. Founded in 1997 by Francis and Shirley Schreibvogel, it is home to more than 1,400 animals and 128 different species, and never turns down a rescue. According to Exotic, the park is not concerned with using their animals for gate fees or profit lines, and so unlike other zoos will not turn down an animal because several are already on exhibit. The sole purpose of the park is saving lives and educating the public.

Exotic believes it is his, and the staff's, deep dedication to protecting wildlife that makes the park unique. "People support what we do because it is not about exploiting animals," Exotic says. While some support the park's efforts by donating money or funding rescues, others open their property up so that Exotic and the staff can search the land for scrap iron and trade it in for cash. Others still volunteer their time and care for the animals in exchange for free housing. Often these volunteers are ex-addicts or ex-alcoholics or simply lost and in need of a fresh start. Exotic explains that the staff members find peace away from the outside world and "the animals don't judge them."

At the end of September, Exotic and zoo staff members will transport two tigers from a private zoo in South Carolina to their new home at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park. Though Exotic wishes all the tigers he rescues could live safely in their natural habitat, he knows "that will never happen...at least not soon." But that does not deter him, "Mother Nature could take the wild back," Exotic says, "In 100 years maybe we will be able to release them."

For more information on how you can help visit Zoo Relief at www.zoorelief.com

Joe Exotic and the USZA have stepped up yet once again to assist those exotic animals and exotic animals owners who are being bullied by certain individuals and organizations. You can help as well. Make your donations here.

September is National Save a Tiger Month

 

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The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Foundation, an Oklahoma non-profit organization, is the official support arm of the Park.
The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park | 25803 North County Road 3250 | Wynnewood, OK 73098 | (405) 665-5197
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