By Deborah Warwick
mail@floridanewsline.com

The St. Augustine Wild Reserve has been busy as usual, constructing new habitats for its big cats. A 16-foot tall habitat for cougar Loki, another large habitat for male black jaguar Diego, and a new habitat with a water access for one of the white tigresses, Gita, were all recently completed. Shortly, a new habitat for white lioness Zuri will begin construction.

Besides acquiring white lioness Sahara last year, the Reserve received four more white lions this year alone: Zuri and Zahra, lionesses, and Aladdin and Pharaoh, two magnificent white male lions.

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The St. Augustine Wild Reserve also acquired a stunning black female jaguar, Ninja, who is in love with young white male lion, Aladdin. They currently share a nice habitat, and will remain together until breeding age, at which time their cage will be divided in half. That way they can still be close, but not too close.

A virtual fundraiser, to begin Nov. 1 with the launch of a silent auction, will go through Nov. 20. Items will be live for bidding on Nov. 1. Visit www.biddingforgood.com/SAWildReserve now to see the silent auction items. For virtual guests of the fundraiser, the Reserve will create a 30 minute video of all of the Reserve’s volunteers and animals. The cost to attend the virtual fundraiser on Nov. 1 is $50 per person.

Now more than ever, monetary donations are needed so that the Reserve can continue cage renovations. A generous benefactor just donated $25,000, which will be used to start on the new habitat for Zuri, a white lioness. Staffed by a host of valuable volunteers, the St. Augustine Wild Reserve is always in need of new caging and animal supplies.

The Reserve’s tour operation diminished considerably after the pandemic hit, and hasn’t really gotten back to normal operating hours. To protect staff and guests, everything is sanitized, including the guest chairs and the limo cart used to ferry individuals who need it around the animal compound on tours. This is an open-air compound and is always breezy. Guests are encouraged to stay at least six feet away from other guests. Tours are appropriate for children and adults and may be booked through bookeo.com/tigertours. 

Those interested in volunteering at the Reserve should contact wildreserve@aol.com, especially those with building/welding skills or fence working skills. 

The St. Augustine Wild Reserve offers tours on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. by appointment only. An 11 a.m. tour on Saturdays was recently added. Visit bookeo.com/tigertours to book online. Donations may be sent to the St. Augustine Wild Reserve, 5190 Farm Creek Road, St. Augustine, FL 32092. Visit www.staugustinewildreserve.org for more information. The Reserve is a 501©3 tax exempt organization. 

Photo courtesy St. Augustine Wild Reserve

White male lion, Aladdin. 

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