Power Lines to Force Portion of Wildlife Park to Close

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The Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari in Gentry forced to close down a portion of the zoo as power lines are going up through the park.

Section 4 of the safari makes up 25 percent of the zoo and is home to 200 large animals that roam on 104 acres.

Safari manager Charles Wilmoth said right now they are figuring out where to put the animals at the park.

“With that amount of animals and having land limited around, we are between a rock and a hard spot,” said Wilmoth.

American Electric Power Company is installing 14 miles of lines from the Flint Creek Plant in Gentry.

The transmission lines have been approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission and construction has already started, according to Southwestern Electric Power Company Spokesman, Peter Main.

“We have made adjustments to the location of the structures on the property in order to minimize the effect of project in the safari operations,” said Main.

Wilmoth’s parents opened the safari in the 1970’s and his home to 120 different species and for many this is the only home they've known.

Pam Elliott traveled to the area from Los Angeles to see the newborn lion cubs that are only a couple weeks old.

She said she is disappointed to hear the news of the power lines.

“This place is great, it`s home to lots of animals that I hope can stay her and educate the people about their habitat, how they live and eat,” said Elliott.

Chanlee Terhune has been visiting the safari since she was a little girl and also expressed her disappointment in the portion of the zoo closing.

“I guess you kind do what you got to do but of course it`s kind of sad because this is where people come, families come to enjoy their time and if you are closing part of it down you can`t enjoy exactly enjoy all of it, the whole experience in driving around,” said Terhune.

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