Letters – Tiger world fans

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 24, 2008

Zoo accusations not always on target
In response to the latest article on the Charlotte Metro Zoo and owner Steve Macaluso losing his USDA license for eight years, I believe that people should know all of the story.
From my personal experience and also first hand from my fiancee, who has been involved with Steve and the zoo for many years, this was a home where animals were cared for and treated like loved family pets.
PETA and its representatives cited “failure to provide adequate veterinary care, shelter for the animals, and psychological enrichment for the primates.” That is false. People get accused of things everyday, but that doesn’t make an accusation a true fact.
Steve has operated this zoo for nearly 10 years. This was not a business for Steve ó it was about his love for animals. Any fees that he charged for visitors to tour didn’t even cover his expenses. Those were taken care of out of Steve’s pocket.
Steve has stayed dedicated to the welfare of his animals. He has tried to have a venue for children and adults to interact with a part of nature they probably rarely get to see. These animals ó especially the primates ó are brilliant animals and very well socialized. The visitors were given treats (nuts, granola, crackers, etc.) to give to the animals, as with most zoos. The volunteers helped Steve with daily care for the animals. If we had seen neglected or abused animals during any of our frequent visits, we would have been the first to report that.
PETA and others are quick to pass judgment without considering all the facts. I wish the new owner the best of luck with Tiger World. And to Steve, I would like to say thank you for the enjoyment we got during our zoo visits.
ó Johanna Miller
Gold Hill
Tiger World is safe
I have known Lea Jaunakais since 1993. Her love of animals and passion to help save endangered wildlife is inspiring. I am so happy that she has accepted to take over this property that these endangered animals have called home since 1996, even before any or many houses were built around it.
She has decided to turn the former Metrolina Wildlife Park around and bring an educational aspect to it. How wonderful for the community to have this non-profit educational center for animals in danger of extinction!
She has and will continue to ensure the safety of the animals and the people who would like to learn more about them. She is building safer, better enclosures and exhibits for these animals. Tiger World will be a fascinating and extremely effective way of keeping these beautiful endangered creatures healthy, in secure captivity and at the same time providing personal, guided, informative tours.
Lea is in my prayers and my thoughts as her continuous hard work and dedication makes her dream to help animals come true.
ó Julie Griffith
Love those zoos
I am a supporter of Tiger World. I have personally met Lea and feel that she is well educated in her field of study. If anyone has concerns, they should listen to what she has to say.
I also think we are lucky to have people like her willing to provide a safe place for these rescued and endangered cats so that our children can learn about them and how to protect them. We should certainly try to teach them not to climb up on railings and tease them.
I am a mother of two. I feel no worry in taking my children to the Asheboro Zoo, and I can’t wait to take them to Tiger World. When I go to a zoo, I look at how well it is maintained, if I can see staff readily available, and if the animals seem happy. If I see someone acting inappropriately, I say something.
Zoos are for us. We need to support them as a community and I feel honored to have one in my community.
ó Kelly Barnard