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Exotic animals

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Posted: Friday, March 21, 2008 12:00 am

One-year-old Jack works for his lettuce.


When he was about 4 months old, the 25-pound Red Kangaroo, of Nashville, Tenn., found a new home with Joe Exotic, director of G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla.


At that time, Jack was malnourished from a frequent diet of fast food like chicken nuggets and French fries that his former owners gave him.


"When we got him, he had no hair," said Exotic, whose real name is Joe Schreibuogel. "He was trashed out because all they fed him was human junk food."


Jack and five other animals including an IndoChinese Tiger named Archey and two 4-week-old North American black bears named Edith and Mary found a temporary spot to play through today at 9 p.m. today at Music City Mall.


The animals' tour returns to the mall from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through March 30, Schreibuogel said.


The animals featured at the mall, near MCM Ice, allow visitors to pet them and take pictures with them for a fee, which goes back into funding the park and its continuous rescue of animals.



"It's not an opportunity that very many people get," park staffer Vicky Welch said.

At the mall, Jack's cage neighbors two 11-week-old Timber Wolf puppies, Huey and Kylee, also get frequent visitors.


Odessan Brittany Miranda sat in the 10-foot-by-10-foot cage with the puppies and interacted with them one-on-one.


Afterward, the 18-year-old said it was a memory she wouldn't forget and one she planned on relaying to her future children someday.


"I can grow up and tell my kids, ‘When I was 18, I petted a wolf,' " she said.


Schreibuogel, who also performs a free magic show at 6 p.m. Saturday at the mall, said the objective is to nurse many of the animals back to health to where they may be donated to a U.S. or overseas zoo and finish out their lives.


He said the park has helped animals find homes in zoos in places like Korea, Thailand, Bulgaria, New Mexico and North Carolina.


"That's what we're here for," he said.




>> What: Rescued animals exhibit.

>> When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Wednesday through March 30.

>> Where: Music City Mall, near MCM Ice.

>> Cost: Free to view, $25 for two to pet the animals for eight minutes. Proceeds go toward helping rescue and care for animals in care at G.W. Exotic Animal Park.

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