Cash shortage at Sierra Safari Zoo; animals may be sold |

Cash shortage at Sierra Safari Zoo; animals may be sold

Associated Press

RENO – The Sierra Safari Zoo is rapidly running out of money and may be forced to sell animals if additional funds to feed them aren’t raised this month, the Reno facility’s co-founder said.

“It’s a crisis every year,” said Dale McDaniel, who helped start the zoo in 1989 and is on its board of directors.

“Every year, the zoo grows. Every year, there are more mouths to feed, which makes it more of a crisis,” he told a Reno newspaper.

Despite the constant money trouble, the zoo never has been forced to sell animals.

But now the zoo, with a monthly budget of about $10,000, has enough cash to feed its population of about 200 animals for only about a week, McDaniel said.

“It’s tougher because we have less resources going into the winter,” he said.

McDaniel makes an annual appeal for donations to feed animals through the winter after the zoo, a nonprofit operation, finishes its season and closes to the public at the end of October.

But the zoo’s financial trouble is worse this year, even though it stayed open for an extra weekend, through Nov. 2, McDaniel said, because summer attendance was down and costs have gone up.

“The zoo stays open only by the desire of the people,” McDaniel said. “The zoo could close if the zoo isn’t a priority.”

Typically, the zoo has enough cash when it closes to feed animals through November and December, McDaniel said.

This year, there is only enough money for this month, he said. “That’s why its urgent,” McDaniel said. “It’s a matter of days this time.”

Zoo expenses must be covered without income from November to the beginning of April.