Tiger haven debated

Mindy Honey Branson Daily News
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FORSYTH — A proposed tiger sanctuary was met with some opposition by area residents Monday night during a Taney County Planning and Zoning hearing.

“They are not the kind of neighbor one would chose,” said Patricia Beese, who lives near the site where the tiger sanctuary is proposed to be built along U.S. 160. “I am extremely concerned the (property) value is going to plummet.”

Both Patricia and Robert Beese own land adjacent to the 133 acres where Global Resources for Environmental Education and Nature, or GREEN, is proposing to build an environmental learning center, including a visitors’ center, gift shop, veterinarian facility and a U.S. Department of Agriculture habitat for endangered species.

But, those with the project said anyone concerned should visit their Bloomsdale location.

“I understand people’s concern and questions about this,” said Judy McGee with Global Resources. “Safety is our No. 1 and education is a top priority.”

She said the cats do not make loud noises often and do not produce bad odors.

As for safety, Keith Kinkade, also with the project, said their fences exceed U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations and their animals are well-cared for.

“The U.S.D.A says we have the healthiest, happiest tigers,” Kinkade said.

Employees and visitors never come in contact with the tigers either, which he said reduces risks of a tiger attack.

“Our main goal is education,” he said. “Tigers make a great ambassador for the environment.”

GREEN is a not-for-profit organization and currently has a tiger sanctuary south of St. Louis in Bloomsdale, which has been open for 10 years.

The planning and zoning board is scheduled to take a final vote next Monday.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Taney County Commission hearing room.



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