THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
KEENESBURG, Colo. — One of the nation’s biggest sanctuaries for tigers, lions and bears said Tuesday it is shutting down because of a lack of donations, and added that it may have to destroy the animals if it cannot find new homes for them.
The 27-year-old Wild Animal Sanctuary will stay open another two weeks at most, executive director Pat Craig said in a statement.
He said the sanctuary, which costs $15,000 a week to run, was in “major debt” because past donors diverted their money to victims of recent hurricanes, earthquakes and the 2004 tsunami.
The organization said the move will affect more than 150 wild animals, including 75 tigers, 30 bears, 20 mountain lions and dozens of leopards, African lions and other big cats.
“Most people logically expect their local zoo could take these animals in, but that isn’t the case,” Craig said. “The fact is that almost every zoo in the country already has a serious surplus problem of their own and are unable to help in situations like these.”
The 140-acre sanctuary on the rolling plains 30 miles northeast of Denver describes itself as the largest of its kind in the nation.