Wild animal sanctuary finds new home
ALBION, Ind. – Dozens of bears, tigers and other animals are headed to a northeastern Indiana park as part of an agreement to relocate a wild animal sanctuary.
The Black Pine Animal Park’s board had recently failed to reach a deal with park co-founder Brad Bonar to buy the 12.5-acre property that includes both the sanctuary and Bonar’s home.
But on Friday, the Noble County commissioners backed the sanctuary’s move to 18 acres at the county’s 4-H park. The county’s attorney will prepare a 40-year lease for the animal park, with the commissioners to consider final approval on Monday.
The agreement will enable the Black Pine board to step up its fundraising efforts, said Mark Thaler, the sanctuary’s board president.
"It’s a little tougher to solicit funds if you don’t know where you’re going," he said.
Plans are for a ditch to separate the animal park from the 4-H park about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne, County Attorney James Mowery said.
The commissioners said the plan would not cost the county any money as Black Pine will be responsible for all utility bills and for any needed improvements to electrical or water service.
"I’m not concerned with it being there," Commissioner Hal Stump said. "I’m just concerned the county is protected and doing the right things."
Black Pine plans to keep regular hours at its current location throughout the summer.
The sanctuary’s move "just makes sense" and will give more exposure to the 4-H park’s attractions, including its nature trails, 4-H youth educator Doug Keenan said.
Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net
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