$25,000 fund drive to give Catskill Game Farm’s big cats new home in Minnesota

By Paul Brooks
Times Herald-Record
pbrooks@th-record.com

New Paltz — Save Kitty. Save Elfa.

The Catskill Game Farm saga continues. The closure of the once-popular Catskill Game Farm last month left three African lions, three mountain lions and a black panther — with names like Kitty and Elfa — without a new home.

Now, Wildlife Watch in New Paltz has arranged for them to spend their remaining days at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minn.

Neither the Game Farm nor the sanctuary are charging for the animals, according to Anne Muller, president of Wildlife Watch.

The problem is that Wildlife Watch needs $25,000 to make this all happen.

The organization needs to raise $5,000 to transport the animals to Minnesota and another $20,000 to erect the cats a shelter, said Muller.

“If we do not come up with the money, the sanctuary will not be able to take them,” Muller said.

A deadline of Dec. 17 puts the fund drive on a tight schedule.

The cat sanctuary has to have time to get construction of the cats’ shelter under way before the Minnesota winter sets in, Muller said. Word is just getting out of the need for money to help the cats, Muller said, but already she has had some donations.

“I just sort of jumped on it,” said Howardena Pindell of New York City, who teaches at SUNY Stony Brook and is an animal-rights activist.

She gave $1,000.

“I was very much concerned about what had happened at the game park, that it fell apart like that, and the fact that these particular animals have the opportunity to have better homes,” she said. “I just felt I should support the cause.”

Each of the three top donors will have the chance to name one of the wild cats, Muller said.

The Wildcat Sanctuary is a not-for-profit that specializes in the long-term care of wild cats, many found abused or abandoned. It is not a public facility or zoo. The animals are not put on display, according to the organization’s Web site. It passes muster with two national accredited wildlife sanctuary organizations, Muller said.

For further information, contact Muller at Wildlife Watch, P.O. Box 562, New Paltz, 12561 or by calling 877-WILDHELP (877-945-3435).

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID= /20061128/NEWS/611280315/-1/NEWS14

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