Future Uncertain For Big Cats Of Serenity Springs Sanctuary In El Paso County
by Scott Harrison
KRDO-TV.com, Colorado Springs
Just last month, we updated you on the exotic cat sanctuary in El Paso County. Now, the owner has died. Pneumonia claimed the life of 47-year-old Karen Sculac just before noon Saturday.
Sanctuary volunteer Collette Colvin says, "The lions sing at night, and I didn't hear them singing as much last night. I don't know if we have what she had, to keep it going."
Sculac's death came unexpectedly, after a case of strep throat developed into pneumonia. "She thought it was just a summer flu, and continued to work out here--and they're not people to go to the doctors, so she figured she'd get better."
Collette says Karen kept caring for her 112 big cats, right up until Friday--when she couldn't walk.
Now there are big shoes to fill, and big bills to pay. "It's close to $20,000 a month, assuming nothing goes wrong--and Karen dying is the biggest wrong i can think of."
Karens loss is felt not just by daughter Amber and other loved ones... but by her three favorite cats.
"Zazu and Reno. Those were her boys. She raised them from cubs, and they're huge male lions. They will miss her. She was with them every day. There's a lioness by the name of Savannah. Karen would just sit with her for hours, and the two of them would just sit there and talk to each other."
Now, volunteers say their only option is to try and continue the sanctuary--because there's nowhere else the cats can go. "I can be realistic and say it's going to be hard, and we will have trouble doing it."
The sanctuary always needs donations to pay for operating costs. But now, Karen's family needs money as well--because she had no insurance. If you'd like to donate, contact Big Cats of Serenity Springs at 347-9200. Tours are cancelled until further notice.