Animal Park Refutes Claims About Unsanitary Conditions

A recent visitor to the Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain contacted us, because she feared conditions at the park could make people sick. When Tamra Bell visited the park, she was surprised by what she found.

"What we noticed was the water was very visibly contaminated," Bell said. "And my concern was not only for the animals, but it was also for the people who came into contact with the animals."

She showed us the pictures she took, which she says showed dried up creek beds and feces in the animals' drinking water. Bell says she was worried about e-coli contamination.

"Some of the animals were visibly sick, I mean, a pig vomited right in front of us," she explained as she showed us the picture.

When we called Wild Animal Safari about the claims, they invited us to take a look. The park's Vice President, Jason Hutcherson, says drought has been a problem lately. But while some of the water sources have dried up, he maintains that there's plenty of drinking water for all the animals.

"I've never had a problem with the water being clean. As far as I know the vets have never questioned it, or had any worries or concerns," Hutcherson said.

And since animals will be animals, the park staff says the best defense against bacteria is good old fashioned soap.

"We tell everybody when they get their ticket to be sure and wash their hands when they feed the animals. We have signs posted everywhere, and we offer hand sanitizer," Hutcherson said.

The Wild Animal Safari is required to pass state and federal inspections every year in order to operate.  The most recent inspection was in February.  And they say that a veterinarian gave all the animals a clean bill of health during the last check-up.