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Updated: 04/16/2014 08:00:00AM

Easter open house promises animal education, entertainment

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PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN

Lions, Tigers and Bears Inc. of Arcadia recently took in a pair of gibbons, whose piercing calls and whistles can be heard for quite a distance.

PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN

When a well fed wolf hybrid lives next door to a small herd of white-tailed deer, proximity leads to curiosity. The pair have gotten to be sociable over time, occasionally stopping to greet one another through the fence. Lions Tigers and Bears Inc. acquired the wolf hybrid after someone tried to raise him in an apartment.

PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN

Swazi is an African leopard now residing at Lions, Tigers and Bears Inc. in DeSoto County. Lynn and Dennis Wittmeier have dedicated their lives to giving a safe home to aa variety of wild animals, small and large. They survive solely on donations and volunteers who help care for the animals and the grounds.

PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN
Samson, along with his sister, Delilah, came to Lions Tigers and Bears Inc. after they grew too large for the photo trade, in which commercial photographers pose children next to young animals. At three months, Bengal Tigers like Samson can no longer be used for this purpose and cannot be turned out into the wild, so they are doomed to a life of captivity. Lions Tigers and Bears Inc. ensures they are well cared for.

By STEVE BAUER

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Visitors attending Lions, Tigers and Bears’ annual Easter Weekend Open House should be prepared for a hoot of a time — literally. With one of the preserve’s newest additions — a pair of gibbons named Sydney and Ging — serenading visitors with their signature siren howls.

The special event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 18-19. Besides offering guided tours of the animals, there will also be free hot dogs and drinks. A minimum donation of $10 for adults and $2 for children is requested. Owner Lynn Wittmeier says that the event is one of the organization’s prime sources of funding for the year.

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