Suki the tiger is one of the many animals who call Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary home. She is one of three circus tigers who came to Noah’s Ark having never touched grass. (Special Photo)
McDONOUGH — Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary needs the community’s help.
The US Department of Agriculture is requiring the sanctuary, which is home to more than 1,000 animals like lions, tigers and bears, to raise its current eight-foot fencing to 16 feet by October.
The approximate cost is around $500,000 to complete the project, said Kandi Allen, executive assistant to the director on Noah’s Ark.
“We have 40 acres that need the new fencing,” Allen said. “This is a huge undertaking.”
Originally, the project was going to cost the sanctuary an estimated $1.3 million. However, after a plea to the USDA — they have amended the rules for Noah’s Ark.
“They wanted us to raise the interior fencing which could put the animals in harms way,” Allen said. “Chemically immobilizing animals is very tricky and many don’t respond well to it, especially the wolves.”
The fencing is set up now with a six-foot people barrier on the outside and an eight-foot interior fence.
With the change, Noah’s Ark is required to raise the people barrier to 16 feet, leaving the animals undisturbed.
“Doing this is going to save us money, but we have a lot of money we need to raise,” Allen said.
She said they will not be able to have the fencing project complete by October, but they’re hoping to be close.
“As long as we show due diligence to the USDA that we’re raising the money needed, we should be ok,” she said.
The sanctuary is participating in a Start A Ryot Challenge hosted by Crowdrise, an online fundraising platform for charities.
The five-week initiative is open to any charity in good standing and ends Sept. 24. The organization that raises the most money will win $75,000 in addition to what they raise.
“The Start A Ryot challenge will help gain awareness, recognition and most importantly dollars for the charities,” according to the Crowdrise website.
“We have jumped above the other charities,” Allen said. “I’m so proud and it’s amazing this little-known charity is at the very top.”
However, even if Noah’s Ark wins the Crowdrise challenge, they will still need to raise nearly $400,000 for the required fencing.
“So many people are stepping up and it’s heartwarming and fantastic,” Allen said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to raise the money.”
To donate to the Start A Ryot challenge visit www.crowdrise.com/keeptheboatafloat or visit the sanctuary at 712 LG Griffin Road in Locust Grove to make a donation in person. Call 770-957-0888 for more information or visit noahs-ark.org.