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A Taste of the Jungle in Central PA - abc27 WHTM

A Taste of the Jungle in Central PA

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The address at this facility might be Central Pennsylvania, but its residents are international. T&D's Cats of the World, in Penns Creek, Pa. A family run, non-profit wildlife refuge.

"If they're walking along the fence like he is, you can be within five feet of them," said Jennifer Mattive Beaver, pointing to the Bengal tiger Ozzie. "So, you can really get a sense of how large they really can be."

Ozzie is just one of more than 300 unwanted or abused animals and birds enjoying a permanent home at this Snyder county wildlife rescue, located on 35 acres of natural enclosures, secured by fencing, surrounded by love.

"Taking care of animals every day, it's just what we do," said Beaver. "It's something that we've always done. And, it's not, I don't think it's hard. It's just there is not enough time."

For the Mattive family, the animals are family. It involves a never-ending commitment to animals abandoned by private owners, transferred from closing zoos or taken from illegal habitats.

Owner Terry Mattive notes that there is no down time with such a large collection of wildlife. "This is 24-7 because we are here 7 days a week. 24 hours a day, " said Mattive. "If I'm not running errands, I'm working on a pen. My son is always here. My daughter is here."

The refuge receives no government funding, relying on private donations, sponsorships and admission fees to help defray operating expenses.

Daughter Jennifer said keeping all the different kinds of animals and birds fed is an on-going effort. "The biggest challenge is probably food for the cats because they eat about 12-thousand pounds of meat a month," she said.

Although the refuge is a family operation, it was dad Terry's dream as a kid. It was something the retired Pennsylvania State Trooper says started out small, but continued to grow.

"Never in my wildest dream would I think that 28 years later I'd have 300 something exotic animals," said Mattive.

During a typical tour of the refuge, visitors are pretty much guaranteed a few "i didn't know that" moments.

"If a cat can purr, it can't roar. And, if it roars, it cannot purr," Jennifer Beaver noted as we stopped in the facility's Cat Country.

And, Penn State fans might be surprised to know that real Nittany lions, such as the one living at T&D's, are not blue and white!

T&D's Cats of the World is open to the public from May through September. Admission $10 adults. $5 children (3-12)

All fees go right back into food for the animals. More info at: www.tdscats.com 570-837-3377

 

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