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The need increases

Animal Sanctuary seeking support

Kandi Allen, executive assistant at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, plays with one of the many capuchin monkeys. (Staff Photos: Heather Middleton)

Kandi Allen, executive assistant at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, plays with one of the many capuchin monkeys. (Staff Photos: Heather Middleton)

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Joshua is one of several capuchin monkeys at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.

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Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary also has several different species of birds. (Staff Photos: Heather Middleton)

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Peacocks roam free around the nearly Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

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Leo the lion spends a lazy afternoon with his friends Baloo and Shere Khan at Noah’s Ark. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

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Sherry Heard with animal rehabilitation at Noah’s Ark takes in an injured pigeon and motherless baby squirrels. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

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Noah’s Ark has large habitats for several different kinds of . (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

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Rachel Owens and her son Jackson, 4, visit the sanctuary several times a year to see the animals. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

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Little Anne is one of several black bears who calls Noah’s Ark home. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

LOCUST GROVE — More than 1,100 animals at Noah’s Ark have found their forever home.

The animal sanctuary in Locust Grove commits to taking care of the animals for their entire lives.

It’s where unlikely friendships are made, too — take Baloo the black bear, Leo the lion and Shere Khan the tiger.

The trio came to Noah’s Ark “after being taken away from a drug dealer,” said Kandi Allen, executive assistant. “He kept them tied up in his basement.”

To continue providing a home to exotic animals like the trio, the sanctuary needs the community’s help to raise $500,000. The U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines require the sanctuary to raise its current eight-foot fencing to 16 feet, according to Noah’s Ark personnel.

“We have 40 acres that need the new fencing,” Allen said. “This is a huge undertaking.”

To help raise money, Noah’s Ark 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.

“For a small place like us, that is a lot of money,” Allen said.

Just this week, the sanctuary has fallen to second place — they’re hoping with more support from the community they can move back into first place.

“We’ve got a lot of people backing us and we’re encouraging more people to go to crowdrise.com to help us get the extra money for the facility,” Allen said.

The sanctuary is competing against big name charities and celebrities.

“We joke we’re the best-kept secret in metro Atlanta,” Allen said. “To see us, this little place in Locust Grove doing so well says a lot about the people who support us.”

To encourage donations, Allen is offering incentives via Facebook like limited-edition pins and lanyards.

To make a donation, visit www.crowdrise.com/keeptheboatafloat. Visit the sanctuary at www.noahs-ark.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NoahsArkAnimalSanctuary.