Letter From Doc Antle— Director of TIGERS and the Rare Species Fund
Thank you to all of our dear friends and supporters that have sent cards, letters, and emails of concern about our safety during and after Hurricane Florence. The Myrtle Beach Safari did not suffer any lasting damage from the storm itself. All of our animals are 100% safe! However, the mandatory evacuation of coastal South Carolina has had a major financial impact, interrupting business operations during a busy part of our season. Subsequently, the aftermath of the storm continues to present us with challenges and obstacles in returning to business as usual.
As many people know, we are located near the Intracoastal Waterway. There has been severe flooding of the area due to the amount of rain produced by Hurricane Florence. Fortunately you can all be assured that the animals and our professional staff are all doing very well. The safety and security of our animals is priority #1. Over the years we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in infrastructure to keep the facilities high and dry, while facilitating quick, efficient drainage. This forethought and preparation has paid big dividends, keeping our animals and their enclosures safe, secure and dry, even in the worst of storms.
Unfortunately, the western side of the Preserve, is severely flooded— as are the residences of about half of our professional staff. For twelve days after the hurricane, the waters of the Waccamaw River and Intracoastal Waterway continued to rise. The low end of our property is currently 6.5 feet underwater and some of our homes have more than 4 feet of water inside. Once the flooding has crested, it is expected to take several weeks before the water has fully receded. At that point we can assess the damage to our homes. Our staff, armed with waders and boats, have been trying to keep our own lives from sinking. Additionally, been assisting our friends and neighbors in the community that are suffering right along with us.
Due to massive flooding in the surrounding area, travel has been largely restricted and we continue to see a major decrease in visitors to the Myrtle Beach Safari. This impact, along with the epic cleanup and rebuilding that will be required in the many months to come, is and will continue to represent a major financial burden, that will affect our day to day operations and our international wildlife conservation work.
Because the facility itself is intact, the Myrtle Beach Safari resumed normal operations last week, well after Hurricane Florence passed. We urge anyone that is interested in joining us for a once in a lifetime interactive wildlife experience to come and visit. We are open for business and taking reservations now! Your attendance will help us to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.
For those not in the area, if you would like to show your support, online sales of our new wildlife books will also help us continue our important work.
Thank you so much. We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support shown by all of you. This sense of giving and concern is what allows us to believe that our work helping to save endangered wildlife will be successful. Working with you, we will continue to make a difference. Please come visit the Myrtle Beach Safari. Your ongoing support is the “help” that will help us the most.