Kelowna gets a zoo
Jun 23, 2012 / 5:00 am
CrocTalk Conservation and Rescue, a facility which houses and educates the public on crocodilians, received the news they had been waiting for earlier this week, when they learned they had been authorized to operate as a zoo in the province of British Columbia.
The top croc at CrocTalk has not stopped snapping since the word came down.
"No one else in the province has this. Without it we would have shut down so this is a huge step for us." says Croc Talk Director of Operations Doug Illman.
After seven and a half month battle with red tape, the Director of Permits, for the Ministry of Forrest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), made CrocTalk the first Controlled Alien Species (CAS) animal institution of its kind, sanctioned to do business by both the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the Province of BC.
"Now we can get focused on getting off this (the current) property and into the new property. This is really exciting news."
Illman expects the construction on the newer and bigger location could begin in a couple of months.
Until then, Illman and his partner Brenda Bruce, will continue their educational CrocTalk programs for the general public.
"What were going to continue doing is what we've always done and it's always worked. We're just going to continue to focus on those three species that connect humans with dinosaurs; tortoises and turtles, sharks and crocodilians. The new facility will acquire a 40,000 gallon shark tank and there will still be a lot of fish that are native to . . .Africa and South America."
Once operations have been permanently relocated, the partners will be in the position to apply for accreditation from the Canadian Association for Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), the top acknowledgement an animal institution can receive in this country. Following CAZA accreditation, CrocTalk Conservation and Rescue will obtain their Commercial Zoo permit.
In his authorization letter to Illman and Bruce, the Director of Permits, for the MFLNRO stated: “After carefully considering all of the information submitted with your application and other material that has been shared with you, I have decided to issue you the enclosed temporary CAS Permit… authorizing you to possess the described CAS for the purpose of operating a zoo.”
"This zoo permit allows us to continue what we're doing with very limited restrictions," says Illman.
"Now we can focus on becoming a non-profit organization," says Illman. "Lots of doors open for us now that we have a zoo permit. There's even government grants for zoos, so we shouldn't have any more winters like we've been having."
For more information CrocTalk and their future plans, visit their website.
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