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To help
For donations to qualify for matching funds, they must be designated to the Black Bear Fund and can be mailed to P.O. Box 02, Albion, IN 46701, or paid online at www.blackpine.org. The organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a Better Business Bureau accredited charity. All donations are tax-deductible. To visit
Black Pine will reopen to the public in May. Until then, visitors ages 10 and older are invited to schedule private tours by appointment. To learn more, go to Black Pine’s website at www.blackpine.org or call 636-7383.
Courtesy Black Pine Animal Sanctuary
Josey, an African serval, was kept as a pet by private owners in Ohio. Its new permanent home is Black Pine Animal Sanctuary near Albion.

Black Pine takes in serval, bear

Two additional animals from Ohio have found permanent homes at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion.

Four tigers were relocated to Black Pine late last year, and this week Mamie, a captive-born, female black bear, and Josey, an African serval, also moved to the sanctuary from Ohio, said Lori Gagen, Black Pine executive director.

Laws passed last fall in Ohio place greater restrictions and increased financial responsibility on exotic animal owners. The new measures are the result of the release of dozens of exotic animals, including black bears, lions and Bengal tigers, by a suicidal Zanesville man in October 2011.

Gagen said the six additional animals the sanctuary has taken are a small number of the exotic animals that may need new homes before Ohio’s new laws are fully implemented in 2014. Some have estimated as many as 2,000 black bears and more than 1,000 tigers, lions and other big cats are being kept by private owners in Ohio.

But Gagen said without additional consistent funding streams, Black Pine will be unable to house any more animals.

“We really just don’t have the resources,” she said.

The sanctuary is still raising money to support the care of the four tigers.

A local supporter also has issued a fundraising challenge and will match, dollar for dollar, every donation given to help Mamie and five other bears living at the refuge, up to $5,000.

At her home in Ohio, Mamie and another male black bear were kept in a corn crib that measured about 15 feet in diameter, Gagen said. The male black bear died recently from complications of a stomach tumor. After his death, the owners decided to find Mamie a new home.

Outreach for Animals, a not-for-profit group that advocates respect for wildlife, has worked with Gagen and Black Pine for the transfer of the animals. The organization had already received numerous calls from concerned residents because Mamie and her male companion could be seen in their Ohio home from Rankin House, a historic property thought to be part of the Underground Railroad that provided safe houses for southern slaves to escape to freedom in the north.

Mamie is adjusting to her new habitat and starting to explore a little more, Gagen said.

Josey is an African serval, or wildcat. She will be one of two servals at Black Pine.

sarah.janssen@jg.net

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