Catskill Game Farm
Entrance sign in 2006
|Location||Catskill, New York, U.S.A.|
|Land area||914 acres (369.9 ha)|
|Number of animals||2,000 (2006)|
|Number of species||150 (2006)|
The Catskill Game Farm was opened in 1933 by Roland Lindemann, and was still owned by the Lindemann family, as Catskill Game Farm Inc. at the time of its closing. At first, it held only deer, donkeys and sheep. In 1958, the United States Department of Agriculture recognized Catskill as a zoo, and it became the first privately owned venture to achieve such status. The collection was now allowed to grow more exotic and at the time of its closing played host to roughly 2,000 animals from over 150 species, imported from around the world.
The zoo spanned more than 914 acres (369.9 ha), most of which was used to breed animals for other zoos worldwide. Only about 136 acres (55.0 ha) was available for public viewing, and then only in the summer and autumn.
On August 2, 2006, the Catskill Game Farm announced that it would be closing on Columbus Day of that year, ending its 73-year run. Its owners attributed the closing to mounting financial difficulties, dropping attendance, and legal regulations leading to the shutdown of its Splashdown attraction, though Splashdown itself never violated regulations.
The auction was organized and conducted by Norton Auctioneers of Michigan, Inc., a worldwide auction group based in Coldwater, Michigan. Norton's is known for auctions of tourist attractions of every shape and kind – amusement parks, zoos, carnivals, family entertainment centers, museums, carousels, and unique collections.
The two-day Catskill auction attracted over 1,000 potential bidders from across the nation, Canada, and Mexico. Selling the first day were the amusement park rides, restaurants, gift shops, and related items. The second day had over 900 animals, vehicles, and farm and construction equipment offered.
A 1951 Herschell Merry-go-Round with aluminum horses sold for $39,500; a Venture Lady Bug ride sold at $8,800; Kiddy Helicopter for $7,000; Kiddy Car Ride at $8,300; and a Venture Himalaya fetched $7,700. Over $12,000 worth of picnic tables and benches alone were sold.
Animal highlights included two rhinos that went for $6,000 and $9,250 to an organization that will place them for the International Rhino Association. A bull elk sold at $1,325, and five female elks sold for $3,600. A small group of Dall sheep sold for $2,500; 10 alligators for $1,350; a white elk for $1,950; pygmy donkeys ranged from $825 to $1,650 each; and a female warthog astonished animal dealers as she sold for $9,900. Five fallow buck deer fetched $3,600, and two groups of Barbados sheep sold for $2,200 each. A pair of bison sold for $1,925; a lot of three Wisent for $6,600; a pair of African porcupines for $1,220; a spurred tortoise went at $1,100; and a lot of five guanacos sold for $7,150. Vervet monkeys sold between $1,375 and $2,200 each. Nilgais averaged $1,350 a piece, and five reindeer fetched $4,725. A lot of three pot bellied pigs sold for $990; a male shetland pony for $1,980; llamas ranged from $400–$1,000 each; a male red deer sold for $2,200; ostriches sold at $900–$1,200 each; and a pair of East African crowned cranes went for $2,300. Also selling were birds, reptiles, and snakes.
In addition to the above list, a southern white rhino named "Boom Boom" now resides at the Out Of Africa Wild Animal Park in Camp Verde, Arizona. He was bought for Out of Africa by Marc Ecko, founder of the rhino-branded Ecko apparel line. "Boom Boom" died on Thursday March 22, 2012, at the age of 41 due to cancer.
- Official website (as it appeared 5 days to closure on October 4, 2006)
- News report of Game Farm's future closure
- Catskill Game Farm Photo Tour
- What Happened to the Animals