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Wildlife Safari is home to two rescued male American Alligators, Bayou and Jabba.
Today, seven year old Bayou and 17 year old Jabba are still quite small (weighing only 44 lbs. & 100lbs., respectively), but will grow to between 10-15 feet, weigh as many as 1,000 lbs. and live to between 50-80 years old. So, we plan to have them at the park for a very long time!
Due to the climate in Oregon, our alligators are only on display for half the year. Alligators, who are ecotherms, regulate their body temperatures by moving in and out of the sun to heat and cool. When it gets too cool or there is too little sun, they can lose their ability to move and digest properly. To keep them safe, Bayou and Jabba are removed from their habitat and kept comfortable in Safari’s new, state of the art, animal hospital- where they are under the care of Wildlife Safari’s full time veterinary staff.
Despite being extremely comfortable in their swanky veterinary get-away, we hope to build them a new, permanent and year-round habitat, which would allow Safari guests to observe them in a natural space, no matter what time of year it is! A new home would also mean advanced training for the animals as well as more fun, more engaging animal enrichment for these supremely smart reptiles.
The proposed expanded habitat will be built at the back of the current exhibit and measure a whopping 700 square feet! It will feature an indoor pool, taking up approximately half of the square footage, and will provide access to their outdoor pool & lawns. The indoor land space will be terraformed with natural plants & grasses that the gators love and will feature skylights to allow natural sunlight into the space. The natural lighting will also be allowed in through large windows located on both the water and land sides of the building, which will also allow guests to observe the pair of alligators while they are inside. Bayou and Jabba will, of course, continue to also have access to the yard they currently inhabit, when the weather allows.
In addition to the many features designed to keep our alligators happy and healthy, we also felt it was important to create an aspect of the design that will allow us to bring our guests closer to alligators than ever before. By building an indoor deck that guests can access on special animal encounters, the visitor to Wildlife Safari will soon be able to observe special alligator training sessions, feeding demonstrations, and ask one-on-one questions in a fun, educational setting. With limited numbers of participants, and the ability to bring guests eye-to-eye with American alligators, any closer and you really would be lunch!
At Wildlife Safari, we believe that each one of our animals carries a crucial conservation message and has their own story to tell. Both of our alligators were previous pets and we were presented the rare opportunity to provide them a home. We feel truly fortunate to have the unique mission of connecting people with animals. We are able to engage the public with an educational message that leaves a lasting impression, whether that lesson is one of responsible pet ownership or how to be better stewards of our natural world. With this addition, and by highlighting & more effectively telling the story of Bayou and Jabba, we will be able to engage the public in these, and many more lessons. We will also have the chance to shed some light on these often misunderstood creatures, and on many more native and indigenous species.
Help turn this plan into reality today. With a projected cost of $50,000, any size donation helps! Wildlife Safari is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and receives no city, state or federal tax funding. We rely on our public to help make projects like this one a reality. Make your tax deductible* donation today using the button below and help to build our new Gator House!