Monday, December 28, 2015

Wild Animal Safari – Georgia

As we wound down our September trip to Florida, I’d decided to take the back roads up through western Georgia, visit an attraction or two in the area and spend the night in La Grange. 

We arrived at Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain Georgia in the mid-afternoon, with plenty of time left to tour the facility.  We chose to drive through the park in our own car but, depending on the season, two other options are available.  If you don’t want to drive your own vehicle through the midst of all the critters, you can rent a “Zebra Van”.  During the busier times of the year, visitors can ride through the park in a tour bus. (Cost included in the ticket price)

Note: There is a second Wild Animal Safari located just northeast of Springfield Missouri. 

We took a lot of photos!  I won’t post too many in the blog but we both loved this one… There is nothing like a giraffe sticking his head in your car window begging, (no, actually insisting), on a handout! 

What do you think that Zebra is thinking?  During a previous visit to a similar park, I had a zebra stick his head in my window and reach all the way across me to get a handout from Laurie.  I would have been in big trouble if he’d suddenly swung his muscular neck into my face.  We have learned to be cautious, that’s for sure!

I believe that this is a Grant’s Zebra although the park also has Hartman Zebra roaming the grounds.  Grant’s Zebra are ‘least threatened’ in the wild but Hartman Zebra are ‘vulnerable’. 

The trick in feeding the animals is to have your window down so you can give them their treats…without letting them into the car.  Some of them really give it the old college try too!  You have to be fast…and/or out think them.  Tossing food on the ground to make your getaway is one solution!

FYI…Reticulated Giraffe is a subspecies of Giraffe native to north-eastern Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.  They are an endangered species with less than 5,000 living in the world.  Fully grown Reticulated Giraffes can be between 16 and 20 feet tall and weigh up to 1,800 pounds. 

We weren’t unhappy that the resident Buffalo herd didn’t come over looking for handouts… In the first photo, a Fallow Deer is resting nearby.

Our desire to avoid hand feeding these American Bison is based on another drive-through animal park experience.  We had a big bull Buffalo walk up to our car.  I barely got the window closed in time.  He wasn’t deterred… He slobbered on the window and rocked the car in an effort to obtain a snack.  I quickly rolled down the window and shoved half a loaf of bread in his mouth… His breath alone could have knocked us over but he was satisfied!

Hi!  Where is my snack?! 

This is obviously a deer of some kind and he/she is very handsome.  I’d like to identify him but Wild Animal Safari’s website isn’t very visitor friendly.  It lists the animals that are roaming the park or on display, but there are no accompanying photos…

Another deer and another snack… This one was very polite!

These critters look a bit like Texas Longhorn Cattle.  Instead they are Watusi or 'Ankole-Watusi', also known as Ankole Longhorn.  This breed of cattle is originally native to Africa.  These big bovines roam among the collection of grazing critters in the drive through portion of Wild Animal Safari.

The Water Buffalo is a large bovid originating in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China.  Today, it is also found in Europe, Australia, and some American countries.  At least 130 million domestic water buffalo exist, and more human beings depend on them than on any other domestic animal!  Their milk is richer in fat and protein than that of dairy cattle.

Roll up the windows!!  Hurry!!  If there is any animal that we avoid when driving through an animal park, it’s the Ostrich… To coin a phrase, they are indeed bird brains.  You never know what they’re going to do and they can be very aggressive.  We’ve had them thrust their heads in our car, block the road and peck/hammer on our car.  As for this one, we just kept driving!

As we neared the end of the drive-through portion of the park, we drove past this Rhinoceros.  I’m guessing that this is a White Rhinoceros as they are the most common variety of this beast.  All species of Rhinoceros are at risk due to the alleged medicinal quality of their horn in some cultures. 

Amazingly, 2.2 pounds of Rhino horn can fetch up to $100,000!  A rash of museum burglaries around the world occurred in recent years with Rhino horn being the prize.  One can assume that these thefts have been due to the value combined with the increasing rarity of Rhinos in the wild.

A large variety of animals, large and small, populate the ‘walk about’ portion of Wild Animal Safari.  This big male Red Kangaroo was just lying about and chilling…

FYI...The Red Kangaroo is the largest Kangaroo breed.  It is also the largest mammal native to Australia.  Males can leap a distance of almost 30 feet in a single bound.  Red Kangaroos have a range of vision that is about 300 degrees due to the position of their eyes. They can reach speeds of 35 mph, but can cruise along at 12 mph for hours on end.

The Patagonian Cavy or Mara is essentially a very large rodent.  In fact, it is the fourth largest rodent in the world behind the capybara, beaver and certain porcupine species.  The Cavy is native to central and southern Argentina, mainly in grasslands and scrub deserts.

Pairs of Maras stay together for life with replacement of partners only occurring after death.  The male has almost the sole responsibility in maintaining the pair by following the female wherever she goes.  A male will mark his female with urine and mark the ground around her with secretions from his glands and with feces, in reality making the grounds around the female a ‘mobile territory’.

Why this goat photo?  Simple!  Goats are cute and Laurie thought that this little youngster had a sweet face…

I snapped this photo of a Siberian Tiger at rest… A male can weigh up to 675 pounds!  The Siberian Tiger, sometimes called the Amur Tiger, is the largest cat now living on the planet. Native to the eastern areas of Russia, they used to extend into parts of China and North Korea.  Currently they are considered critically endangered largely due to habitat destruction and poaching.

Wild Animal Safari in Georgia lists a number of different sheep and I can’t quite identify this fellow.  He’s apparently been fighting with someone!  Is he a Corsican Sheep or a Mouflon…or something in between?  In any case, we liked his attitude!

I’ve only featured a few of the animals that you can view via the drive through or the walk about portions of the park.  Other critters of interest include: Baboons; Alligators; Timber and Artic Wolves; Black Bears; Lizards and other reptiles; Parrots and Macaws; Monkeys; Wallaby, Bobcats; Caracal; Dingoes; Lemurs; Dromedary Camel; Coatimundi; Elk; Leopards; Hyenas, and; Lions.

Our visit was well worth our time and money.  We had a lot of fun feeding the animals in the drive through portion of the park.  I actually spent more money on food for the animals than the cost of admission!  While some may not agree with this zoo/park concept, I think that at the very least these operations, run properly, expose the public to wildlife and raise awareness while helping to perpetuate some of the endangered or vulnerable species.

Wildlife Animal Park in Georgia is located at 1300 Oak Grove Road in Pine Mountain.  Phone: 706-663-8744.  The park’s Website can be found at:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for the tour!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

1 comment:

  1. Some of those guys look like they could put a hurtin on your car if they didn't like your treat offering.