Alabama and The City of Mobile Should hang their heads in shame about "The Mobile Zoo"
Who the hell would ever consider this a zoo?
The people of Alabama should be ashamed and the people of Mobile should be outraged and embarrassed.
The Mobile Zoo Is not really in Mobile , and it not really a Zoo and their website looks like my 10 year old nephew created it http://www.mobilezoo.cc .... In truth Wildlife Planet has a hard time believing their literature isn't being printed on a dot matrix printer.
Everything about this so called "Zoo" seems small and backwater. They call themselves "The Mobile Zoo" but it is actually in Wilmer, Alabama
Here are their directions
From Mobile, we are 30 minutes drive from I-65. Leaving Mobile on HWY 98 (Moffett Road) going west to Wilmer, from the center of Wilmer (grocery store, church, traffic light etc...) continue west another 1.3 miles to the second paved road on left (Green & White ZOO sign), Ward road. Drive down Ward road 1.7 miles to see our sign and entrance on left.
We were surprised not to read "Make a right at the gator and if you see "Grandma Jones" sitting on her porch smoking her pipe you went too far"
The zoo's cages are constructed with remnants of old tennis court fencing and PVC pipe among other materials, probably "Borrowed" from some local school or junkyard while everyone was watching Auburn play Alabama in college football.
The zoo has an owner and one full-time, Yes! count them ONE employee that takes care of the several dozen animals including tigers, a lioness, leopards, a former movie-star chimp and more.
The same person responsible for cleaning the enclosures, feeding the animals and helping to maintain the zoo is also tasked with spreading the word. As a result, zoo manager/feeder/cleaner/caretaker/marketing director/... Angela Enders is spread pretty damn thin.
"It's rewarding, but this job isn't for everyone, it's hard work," said Enders.
Enders is loved by all of the animals, evidenced by how they approach her when called and even the oldest tiger, "Tigger", lets her pet her head through the fence.
Joe, a chimp that starred in the 1997 movie "Buddy" calls the zoo home after calling it quits in Hollywood, so Hollywood made it's millions off "Buddy" and dumped his sorry chimpanzee ass off in Alabama.
When Enders said his name, he promptly came down from his perch and opened his mouth in a wide-toothed grin at her, hoping for a sample of cantaloupe. When he's not trapezing on the fence and climbing around, Enders puts on one of his favorite movies to watch and Joe watches, enamored with the television.
John Hightower, the founder of the Mobile Zoo is pictured with his best "Wildlife" hat probably believing he is Steve Irwin reincarnated. We have not talked to him first hand so we can not see if his motivation for the "zoo" is based on greed or just a caring heart. Since the place has existed for decades and it makes no money at all then until other evidence arises we choose to believe his heart is in the right place.
The zoo has been warned by officials about many violations in recent years.
- Providing the big cats fish
- Rusty Fences
- Dust in the enclosures
- Repeated damaged fence violations
- Cited for lack of employees
- The USDA report also said that bamboo was a problem at the zoo, prohibiting inspection of some of the lion, tiger and bear areas.
- The USDA cited the zoo for visible feces and a rotting fish that had flies around it
- The enclosures does not have ample space or lacking items that entertain the animals
The list goes on and on but recently officials gave the zoo a June 15 deadline by officials to employee more people, Enders was able to enlist her boyfriend to help out. Two military volunteers come every other week as well, and two other people semi-regularly.
"People have good intentions, but they don't always follow-up," she said.
Enders recently launched a campaign to help renew the zoo and raise funds to rectify some of the issues in the USDA reports as well as give some of the bigger cats more space..... The fund raiser only raised a little more than $100.
Smiling, Enders said one of her favorite animals is Tigger, the 20-year-old tiger. Her breed is only expected to live to 15. "We have animals outliving their life expectancies, but no one ever tells you that," she said.
Whats even more revealing about the Mobile Zoo is that it has existed for more than two decades, but many Mobile residents, a city with a population of around 200,000, have no clue it is even there. Over 20 years and hardly anyone knows this zoo exist? I live in a town with a population of over 50,000 people and there is a panhandler at my local 7-11 named Earl, and probably 10,000 people smile and laugh when you mention "Earl"
Wildlife planet is not trying to disparage or truly make fun of Angela Enders, from our vantage point she is a woman who desperately cares for these animals. Even the owner Mr. Hightower deserves some credit for at least trying.
We can never know his true motivation but we will give him the credit for at least trying. How much credit depends on how much time he spends at the zoo helping which at this time we can not verify. We do know Miss Enders has been devoted to these animals and she deserves our utmost respect.
But, in Wildlife Planet's opinion it is time that their efforts are directed to finding ways to send these poor animals to real sanctuaries or real zoo's that will have the personal, money and land to let these wonderful creatures live a life that is actually worth living.
We hope that the animals are sent someplace that offers life but, we also wish that a real zoo, sanctuary will offer Miss Enders an opportunity to work and learn under highly trained professionals to guide her because, clearly she is devoted to these animals and as such her passion should be rewarded with a chance to advance in the conservation field.
First a message from Wildlife Planet "The people of Alabama and Mobile should hide their heads in shame over this zoo with that said, If the owner truly just wants to help these animals and he does not want to close the zoo, then what?
- Local resident must take pride in this zoo and "Own" it as a community.
- Schools, Universities, and other local outlets must start developing a volunteer program where students and teenagers can earn credit for working at the zoo.
- Civic leaders should take charge and promote the zoo and try to secure funds for the zoo. Even a loan where a city official will make sure this loan is paid back through donations, visitor fees and merchandising would be welcomed.
- The zoo must develop a long term strategy that will be longer than "Day to day" in order to survive and keep the animals happy and healthy and a plan that develops a customer base and loyal followers.
- Local businesses should promote their business by donating supplies and materials to bring the zoo up to and beyond code
- Local wealthy residents should be encourage to "Adopt" an animal." Their initial donation will help cover the rebuilding and upgrades of the various cages but, a continued donation will provide funding that will be able to bridge the gap if any monetary shortfalls should befall the zoo.
These recommendations are just a small sample of things that need to be done a much more comprehensive plan must be developed to secure a healthy and happy future for these poor animals.
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