Second site for tiger haven
By Mindy Honey
Originally published Dec. 30, 2009
The founder of an environmental organization that houses tigers is looking at two locations, one in Taney County and now another in Stone County.
In June, the founders of Global Resources for Environmental Education and Nature, or GREEN, were turned down by the Taney County Planning Commission on a bid to construct a tiger sanctuary north of Branson. This fall, the founders, Keith Kinkade and Judy McGee, began looking at Rockaway Beach for relocation from Bloomsdale. Now, the couple is looking at another location in the Galena area.
“We always wanted to have more than one location in the area,” Kinkade said.
When discussions began with Rockaway Beach leaders, the sanctuary founders hoped the process would move along quickly. However, when they recognized they wouldn’t be able to make the move this winter, they began looking for another site and found 40 acres near the intersection of Missouri 176 and KK Highway in Stone County.
Kinkade’s hope was to go before the Stone County Planning and Zoning Board in January. However, due to lack of engineering work, Planning and Zoning Director Joy Wilson said the goal is now to make the Feb. 2 meeting.
She said the location, owned by Circle V LLC, is near a platted subdivision where no homes have been built. A total of eight property owners have land within 1,000 feet of the proposed project.
“It is rural,” Wilson said.
Kinkade said the location, which has an old convenience store and restaurant on the property, would allow GREEN to make the move this winter before the weather gets too warm to move the tigers.
“It is a building we can get started in,” Kinkade said.
He said while they have had opposition, he is confident when they are settled in, people will become more comfortable with tigers in the area.
“Once we get open and people see what we do, I think it will alleviate everyone’s fears,” he said.
The tigers are a way to get people’s attention and draw them to the environmental learning center, Kinkade explained.
He added that the tigers are good representatives for the environment.
“Their only predator is man,” Kinkade said.
He said they do not treat their tigers as pets and would be a United States Department of Agriculture approved facility.
“We could do the same program with a opossum, it just wouldn’t get a lot of people’s attention,” he said.
They plan to construct a similar development in Rockaway Beach.
“Rockaway Beach has been working real hard with us,” Kinkade said. “We just want to get going a little quicker.”
He said it has always been their goal to move to the Tri-Lakes Area.
“We’ve always enjoyed this area,” he said.
GREEN is a not-for-profit organization and currently owns a tiger sanctuary south of St. Louis in Bloomsdale, which has been open for 10 years.