Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tigers For Tomorrow At Untamed Mountain

Tigers for Tomorrow at Untamed Mountain is a privately owned exotic animal preserve in northeastern Alabama. The facility is not a zoo but a non-profit rescue preserve that provides a safe sanctuary for animals in need of a permanent home. A visit to Tigers for Tomorrow is an educational experience for all ages.

Tigers for Tomorrow was founded in 1999 by Sue Steffens, the former Director of Development for the Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park. The preserve was originally located in Fort Pierce, Florida, but plans were made to move further north after the preserve suffered damage from two hurricanes. It was able to merge with another rescue organization, Bluegrass Farms Wildlife Sanctuary in Attalla, Alabama. They now own 140 acres in rural DeKalb County, Alabama.

The preserve is home to more than 100 exotic animals including 17 tigers, 14 mountain lions, four African lions, and two black leopards. There are also camels, a zebra, wolves, and both grizzly and black bears. The animals have come from different sources. Some have been rescued from private owners who could no longer care for them. Others came from zoos that were closed, circuses, and canned hunts. Tigers for Tomorrow does not have a training or breeding program. Its goal is just to provide a safe place for the animals to live out their lives.

The facility is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9am to 5pm. During the summer when the weather is hot, it is best to visit in the morning when the animals are more active. Visitors are free to walk the property and view the animals. Untamed Mountain is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and there is lots of walking over hilly terrain. Visitors should plan to wear comfortable shoes. The Children's Barnyard Contact Area is the only area where visitors may directly interact with the animals. The Barnyard contains sheep, goats, llamas, and emus that may be petted. In the other areas of the preserve, visitors are at least four feet from any animal enclosure. Visitors are welcome to enjoy a picnic lunch in the picnic area.

Tigers for Tomorrow preserve will be opening several new areas in June. There will be a new Welcome Center with a gift shop. The shop will sell animal related items as well as jewelry and other gifts. The facility will also unveil a new wolf habitat. In addition, there will be a Legacy Living Classroom that can be used for educational programs. It will house exhibits of small mammals, reptiles, birds, and native Alabama wildlife. Tigers for Tomorrow recently received a grant from Legacy Inc., Partners in Environmental Education to construct a butterfly garden.

The preserve is located southwest of Fort Payne, Alabama, near the town of Collinsville. The address is 708 County Road 345 in Attalla. Admission is .50 for adults, for seniors age 65 and older, and .25 for children ages 3-11 years. No credit cards are accepted. Cameras and video cameras are not allowed. A visit to Tigers for Tomorrow sanctuary provides a wonderful opportunity to observe exotic animals in a non-zoo setting.

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