Eagle project helps big cat
By Shelley Smithssmith@salisburypost.com
When Murray Farrington visited Tiger World for the first time with his family, a quote on a water tub really stuck: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Farrington is 15 and a member of Boy Scouts Troop 448 of Salisbury’s Coburn Methodist Church. For his Eagle Scout project, he chose to build a larger leopard habitat at Tiger World for a three-legged leopard, Bagara.
“My goal as a Boy Scout was to get the Eagle Scout quickly, and to do something more worthwhile,” said Murray. “I thought about how Tiger World had no money coming in, and how we need to make sure we take better care of our animals in this changing world.”
“Tiger World is literally on a shoestring budget, and they make use of every single thing they possibly can,” said Monica Farrington, Murray’s mother.
Murray, along with more than 20 volunteers, helped to build a 30-by-30-foot habitat for Bagara, and Murray is now an Eagle Scout.
Murray and his father, Dr. Cecil Farrington, bought materials for the project.
“I raised money for the materials by doing odd jobs for people,” Murray said. “I did a lot of yard work.”
After building the frame and walls, putting up the steel grating and building a sloped roof with rafters, Murray completed the project in seven hours.
“It looks remarkable,” said Lea Jaunakais, president and founder of Tiger World. “Bagara is enjoying the additional space and loves to roll around in the grass.
“Murray did a great job of pulling the troop together, and it really shows his compassion for animals.”
Jaunakais gave Murray numerous options at Tiger World for his Eagle Scout project, and Murray chose Bagara’s habitat.
“He’s made a difference in this leopard’s life,” said Jaunakais. “The grass is a lot better for her leg, and it has really made an impact on her life and comfort in captivity.
“We feel honored he selected Tiger World. We are really just so thankful.”
Murray said he hopes the project will inspire others to give their time and efforts.
“A lot of people always think that someone else will volunteer,” he said. “But you’re helping build someone’s house, even though it’s for an animal.”
Monica Farrington said she and her husband “are really proud” of Murray.
“He has learned more than we ever could have imagined, and the value of scouting can never be underestimated,” she said.
Murray’s troop leader is Al Wilson, an architect and builder, and his knowledge was essential for the construction of the leopard habitat. Lifetime scout Jack Kepley also came out to help Murray, wanting to be part of his leopard habitat project.
Family friends Jerome VanWagenberg and Dr. Jimmy Anderson also helped with the project, mostly the cutting of the wood.
Murray is a ninth-grade student at Cannon School in Concord and lives in Salisbury. He has two twin sisters, MaryClaire and Madeleine.