Wild Animal Sanctuary Moving to Marion County
"It doesn't bother me a bit. I am excited," said Natasha Rahme.
To see a wild animal sanctuary open up couple of acres away her home.
Rahmes' lives in the Ocala National Forest.
"I am glad that they are putting a place to protect these animals," said Rahme.
Other people said they don't feel the wild animals are a threat.
"If the animals were abused and what not and they are bringing them here to help them, I don't have a problem with it,"said Harold Richer.
For the past 14 years the Peace River Refuge and Ranch Wild Animal Sanctuary in Hardee County has provided lifetime care for wildlife animals ranging from skunks, monkeys bears and tigers.
"They are all rescued from situations where they were going to be killed for lack of a place to go. They were attempted pets. They come from roadside zoos that close," said Lisa Stoner who is the co-founder.
In two months the animals will have a new home in the Ocala National Forest.
Stoner said the main reason they are relocating is because a huge housing development has been approved to go in right by the sanctuary in Hardee County.
"When people move in they eventually gang up and say we don't want these dangerous animals near our kids. Across the country people will through legal fees at it and every sanctuary that has ever fought the fight has lost," said Stoner.
So instead Stoner and her husband bought 80 acres of land. It's going to cost about $1.5 million to build the new sanctuary, which is already under construction.
Right now they are building safety lockouts that are used to put the animals in case of a storm. Their habitats will be over in another area.
Stoner said its an acre for each bear and an acre for each tiger. While the wild animals will enjoy a large area of the Ocala National Forest, safety is a priority.
There will be an 8 foot fence around the perimeter.
Another 8 foot fence towards the interior of the property.
"Just before the enclosures there is going to be another layer of fencing to keep people out and the habitats themselves.So there is four layers of fencing before anybody can reach an animal," said Stoner.
No animal has ever escaped from the sanctaury in Hardee County and the Stoners want to assure residents it won't happen here in Marion County.
The sactuary will bow be calledForest Animal Rescue.
They are always in need of volunteers and donations to pay for the new sanctuary.
Visit their website if you want to volunteer or donate.
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