Wild Things Zoofari
|Private Limited Company|
|Industry||Educational Animal Shows Services|
|Founder||Courtney Cortina Pineda|
|Headquarters||Austin, Texas, USA|
|Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, McAllen, Corpus Christi and Waco|
|Courtney Cortina Pineda|
Wild Things Zoofari is an educational outreach program that is based just outside Austin, TX. Founded in 2010, Wild Things Zoofari travels all over the state, servicing schools, libraries, and private events.
In 1996, Courtney, the founder of Wild Things Zoofari, worked as a veterinary technician for Dr. Kent Arnold at Equine Veterinary Services. This was her first medical and professional experience with animals. In 2000, she extended her knowledge by working with well-known Dr. Rohn Hendricks, DVM at Hendricks Equine Veterinary Services in Waxahachie, Texas. In 2005 after leaving her job with Dr. Hendricks, she moved to Austin, Texas. She started working at Avian Angels and began breeding and producing various exotic birds for the pet trade. During that adventure, she explored the exotic animal field. Five years later she decided that there was not enough support to help conserve and protect the wildlife. She decided to create Wild Things Zoofari, Inc. to educate people with animal encounters. In January 2015, Wild Things Zoofari created Austin Petting Zoo, Houston Petting Zoo, and San Antonio Petting Zoo to satisfy the growing demand of educational programs in Texas. This growth led to the hiring of 2 animal specialist Ray Don Mitchell and Tiffany Tasa. Ray having over 20 years raising exotic animals in the private sector and Tiffany with a Rangeland Ecology & Management / Wildlife & Fisheries degree from Texas A&M University. In May 2015, Wild Things Zoofari started franchising.
Wild Things Zoofari performs over 400 animal shows in libraries and schools around the state of Texas a year. On Thursday July 9, 2014 Wild Things Zoofari attracted over 300 children and adults to the Copperas Cove Library. On August 3, 2014, more than 150 children gathered at the Sims Library in Waxahachie, Texas. On Friday June 26, 2015, children went wild at the library event at the Seguin-Guadalupe Public Library. On Thursday July 16, 2013, the City of Leander Texas had two shows. More than 100 children lineup in the summer of 2014, when Wild Things Zoofari made a stop at Pflugerville Public Library. On October 13, 2014 Wild Things Zoofari appeared at KEYE TV, with host Chris Saldana, in "We Are Austin", a lifestyle and interview show.
In the month of July 2015, Wild Things Zoofari launched the program "Kiss A Pig", designed to encourage summer reading in children. The librarian will have to kiss a pig if the children read over 100,000 minutes. In the summer of 2015, Wild Things Zoofari created a go fund me account, to give free programs to non-profit organizations that run solely on grants and donations and to schools and libraries that have a low budget. In the November/December 2012 edition of the Feline Conservation Federation's Magazine, Volume 55, Issue 6, Wild Things Zoofari's bobcat, Nala, was featured as one of the most amazing animal ambassadors. Courtney gave insight on how to properly care for bobcats.
Wild Things Zoofari supports protecting animals and providing them safe atmospheres. They support Proyecto Titi, a program that assists in the survival of endangered cotton-top tamarins and their habitats. Zoofari's own conservation efforts currently extend to cotton-top tamarins, ring-tailed lemur, and chinchillas.
Wild Things Zoofari provides the following.
Wild Things Zoofari Inc. educates about the importance of wildlife conservation so our next generations can also see these animals in nature.
Wild Things Zoofari delivers live, hands-on educational reptile shows helping Adults and Children understand the reptiles role in nature and how to protect each other.
Exotic Petting Zoo
Wild Things Zoofari Exotic Petting Zoo is a “hands-on” learning experience in which children get the chance to learn about many exotic animals.
Controversy and criticism
There have long been allegations that animal shows, reptile shows, and exotic petting zoos are abusive and not helpful to the species involved. Animal rights group PETA argues that petting zoos such as Wild Things Zoofari cause undue stress to animals and are not adequately regulated by the USDA.
Wild Things Zoofari believes in education through hands-on experience. The company argues that by having access to these animals and being educated on their plight in the wild, young people will grow into conservation-minded adults and pass this along to their children.
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