Sunday, August 25, 2002

Black Pine Animal Park says it "is not just a zoo, it's a sanctuary for rescued and retired exotic animals." It is truly a perversion of the word "sanctuary" when the facility not only uses animals for human amusement, but wants to breed them to sell their babies to a circus.


Creature feature
Big cats roar while campers snore at Albion zoo
By Stefanie Scarlett
The Journal Gazette

"Trespassers will be eaten," declares a sign on an entrance gate to Black Pine Animal Park in Albion.
Welcome to the land of lions and tigers and bears. And camels, chimpanzees and exotic birds....

Visitors don't stand 200 feet away and read placards. Instead they often get within 10 feet or so, and they get histories of the animals from the people who care for them. Like the clever chimp who once dismantled a generator, separating all the pieces into neat piles....

...Duke is a Barbary lion, which is why a circus wants some of his cubs. The staff hopes to breed Duke and lioness Shengi this winter....

The chimp Tarzan, always the showman, greets visitors by making rude noises and banging on his cage. He and roommate Coby are retired performers, as are the two bears and one of the tigers.

This is the one cage that Bonar never climbs in, saying the chimps - who each have the strength of five or six adult men - potentially are the most dangerous animals at the park.

But they're always a hit with visitors.

"Tarzan is this bozo, he's loud and obnoxious. He's entertaining to watch," Bonar says....