August 20th is National Homeless Animals Day
Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park: A Haven For Homeless Animals.
For most of us, August 20th is just another day, but this year a tiger from Maine, a wolf from Oklahoma, and a bobcat from Missouri give National Homeless Animals Day a special meaning; all three were part of a large-scale rescue of 30 animals from across three states conducted by the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park and Park Entertainer Joe Schreibvogel, also known as Joe Exotic. The rescued animals, including tigers, wolves, bears, bobcats, and monkeys, will be placed in zoos around the country or remain at the park.
Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park sits on 54 acres in Wynnewood, Oklahoma and gives sanctuary to abandoned and mistreated animals in need of a new home. The most recently rescued animals join the over 1,000 other animals who have found a temporary or permanent home at the park. According to its website, the organization has placed over 1,200 rescued animals from all over the country in zoos and sanctuaries worldwide.
The park is a go-to place for state and national response services when officials encounter wild animals in dire circumstances. Recently the Oklahoma emergency response service contacted Exotic after a drug raid revealed seven caged wolves. The wolves were so starved, Exotic says, they had begun to eat their own cubs. This is an example of the “heart wrenching” situations Exotic has encountered during the nearly twenty years he has rescued animals. “We see the worst of the worst” he says.
If the animals are young they may be adopted by a zoo. However, for animals too old or undesirable for adoption, the sanctuary may be the last or only hope. The park’s mission statement posted on the website states, “rarely does any…unwanted animal ever leave here.” The seven wolves included in last month’s rescue will live out the remainder of their lives at the park.
The park is not only a place for animals in need of a second chance; Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park gave Exotic a new start as well. For 16 years Exotic and his brother ran a pet store in Texas and rescued animals of all kinds. When Exotic’s brother was killed by a drunk driver, the park was opened as a memorial and a realization of their shared passion for helping animals in need.
Since then the continuing work of the sanctuary has depended on the help of hundreds of others who have funded everything from cages to full-scale rescue operations in memory of loved ones who cared about animals. It is not the typical zoo, Exotic says, “everything here has a higher purpose.”
Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park is a lot of things: it is a place for memorializing loved ones, it is the realization of a lost brother’s dream and it is a place where animals who would never interact in the wild find companionship with each other, but more important to the rescued hundreds who have traversed the park’s acres, it is home.
Visit Zoo Relief at www.zoorelief.com for more information on how you can help.