Great Cats World Park
|Date opened||May 2005|
|Location||Cave Junction, Oregon, United States|
Great Cats World Park is a big cat zoo. It is located a few miles south of Cave Junction, Oregon, United States. It is owned by Craig Wagner, and he and a select few staff members involve themselves personally in the raising of the cats: feeding them, training them and sometimes sleeping with them as babies. The park's mission is to educate the public about these feline ambassadors to increase conservation and awareness. The park's breeding projects involve the Amur Leopard, a highly endangered cat that will most likely be extinct from the wild by 2012, and the White Tiger, a cat whose genetic diversity is highly threatened by only a captive gene pool. The breeding projects at the park ensure higher genetic diversity for these beautiful and endangered animals. Craig lives with the cats and has a strong relationship with these predators, despite being attacked by their charges over the years. The guided tours at the park ensure an up front and personal visit with over 16 species of wild cats, including a Clouded Leopard, Ocelot, Jaguars, and Snow Leopard, to name a few. The cats are highly bonded with these trainers and amicable towards the other staff members, relationships not seen at any zoo.
Craig Wagner first began raising big cats at the age of 23 in Minnesota after he accidentally met a cougar, and is federally licensed to own and show big cats. In 1998, he brought his cats to Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, where he periodically returns to put on cat shows. After several years in Winston, Wagner moved to Cave Junction and set up Great Cats World Park.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service probation
In September 2007,Great Cats World Park was sentenced by a Federal Court to one month probation for violation of the Endangered Species Act and fined $10,000. Owner Craig Wagner pleaded guilty in June 2007 to purchasing the park's ocelot for $3,000. There is a near-total ban on ocelot sales in order to discourage the commercialization of the rare animals. The ocelot was purchased from the Isis Society for Inspirational Studies, who were given two years probation and fined $60,000. The ocelot will continue to live at Great Parks World Park. According to Phil Land, the resident U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent in charge, "Sometimes it's actually better to leave them with the people that care for them. Then we don't have to try to find a place for them."
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