People go wild for new exhibit

Local News

HOOPESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — Vermilion County is getting a new home for exotic animals.

Hoopeston will soon have one of the wildlife centers in Illinois.

A wildlife sanctuary in a small town could ruffle some feathers, but the owners say, not to worry.

There’s going to be a mountain lion, tiger cubs, a Geofrroy’s cat and much more.

Paws and Claws Animal Sanctuary has been in the works for a year and half.

They’re weeks away from opening to the public.

“We’re going to devote our time and energy and take care of exotic wildlife and do it with good quality care and handlers,” says Paws and Claws owner, Jennifer Garrett.

Families in Hoopeston are ready for something new.

“We just wen to the Indianapolis Zoo so having something much closer for them to go to on a regular basis is fantastic,” says James Hansen of Hoopeston. 

“I think it will give the kids something exotic to look forward to and go and see. There’s never nothing around here like that,” says Ashley Tucker of Hoopeston.  

While the animals need the care – there are some concerns about the creatures being close to close to a highway if they were to get loose. 

“it’s our job to preserve these species and teach our youth about them and that’s the best thing is passing on the knowledge of the animals to our younger generations,” says Garrett.  

“I don’t think it’s a real big danger because if there was going to be a danger they wouldn’t put it out,” states Tucker. 

“I’m not worried about them getting loose. I grew up around zoos, wildlife, sanctuaries, everything. I’m from San Diego. We had a season pass to a wild animal park. As long as the proper security is taken then it’s not a problem at all,” states Hansen. 

Once things are complete, there’s more opportunities for the community at Paws and Claws. 

“Do community service hours here, bring a food bank back to Hoopeston. There’s way like there’s lots of little ways to go,” says Garrett. 

Paws and Claws Animal Sanctuary will have its grand opening soon where all the animals will be unveiled.

A movie and other fun will be included.

Adults can donate $10 and $5 for children. 

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