Tag Archives: Frank Hart

Elephants and Rhinos and Bears in Oregon? Oh my!

-Emily Fraysse

Bobbing his head forwards and back, he lunged right for our car.

“Roll up your window! Roll up your window!” screamed my mother in the driver’s seat.

Of course, in the first thirty seconds of driving into the Wildlife Safari Park, we get attacked. Before this moment, we never thought we would experience a full-grown ostrich bombarding our car, especially not in Oregon, but we did. Thankfully, before the beast could do any damage to the paint job of the Toyota Rav4, the workers at the Wildlife Safari shooed him away to the side of the road.

The park, located in Winston, Oregon, consists of two main areas: the drive-thru and the Village. The Village houses an array of animals such as wolves, flamingos, Egyptian geese, kookaburras, alligators, lemurs, bobcats, and bearded dragons. Another part of the Village is like a petting zoo, with pygmy goats, lamas, miniature donkeys, and horses. But the most amazing part of this park lies in the rest of the 600+ acre lot. Guests get the chance to experience animals up-close by driving through the five sectors (Africa Section, Wetland Area, The Americas, Asia Section, and Tiger and Cheetah Area) of the park.

It was traveler Frank Hart’s vision to create a non-profit facility in the Pacific Northwest with its main goal being to save rare and endangered species. Thirty-eight years later, through education, conservation, and research, not only has it become a fantastic wildlife safari, but the zoo is one of the top breeders of cheetahs in the United States. Since the zoo opening in 1972, there have been 171 cheetahs born in the park.

Going along with its goal of protecting the diversity of species, it created the Conservation of Rare and Endangered Species (C.O.R.E.S.) program in January 2005. Connecting with researchers all over the world, the Safari’s website explains that the program is creating, “scientifically-controlled managed breeding programs, public awareness of wildlife conservation issues, and in some cases, reintroduction of wildlife bred in captivity back into secure habitats.” Currently, it is working on cheetah reproduction projects as well as an African Elephant conservation and reproduction center.

Check the website for inside events including bear feed, breakfast with the bears, camel rides, cheetah encounter, elephant barn encounter, elephant car wash, and lion feeding!