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We're BUILDING A ZOO!!!

PLEASE, Scroll down to learn how YOU CAN HELP.

When Wild Things' owner Charlie Sammut decided to enter the animal industries, the real work was in Southern California where the majority of the studios and other animals companies were but his home was Monterey County where he decided to commute from in order to stay near his family and place he loved so much. He did this with a very special partner, his lion Josef who without a doubt, paved the way for Charlie's career and the future of Wild Things.

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In the early days of Wild Things, our primary source of income and support was in-fact the film and television industry which kept our animals busy and active as well as our staff. The industry at that time was flourishing which meant our animals were on the go, seldom spending time in their enclosures getting ample time and attention as a result of our schedule. As the company evolved, we ventured into the education industry also for it was simply the responsible thing to do for both the planet and the animals. As we continued to evolve, Wild Things became one of the first and only animal compounds of it's type to be open to the public. We welcomed all to see how we kept, trained and cared for our animals. This was made easy having decided to plant our roots in a tourist orientated county such as Monterey.

In recent years, the film industry has all but fled California (if not the United States) unfortunately to escape the extremely high cost of filming a production here. Many animals companies that had been thriving for years but had all their eggs in that basket were forced to either leave the state or close their doors. We continued to evolve.

Capitalizing on the tourism in Monterey, we searched for new and innovative ideas to support our home and our animals which included our Safari Bed and Breakfast, our custom and private tours, our Special Event Site and more. But these activities weren't as physically stimulating to the animals and all concerned wanted to find other ways to get them out of their enclosures.

In July of 2008, Charlie faced his biggest tragedy and challenge of all, he lost Josef at the age of twenty-two. On that final day, Charlie made Josef a promise; a promise that would afford the other animals a better quality of life that was not dependent on any given industry. A promise to finish what they had started together... and in the same fashion that kept the facility afloat for so many years, Wild Things continues to evolve today as it ventures into keeping that promise to Josef and building that home for the animals. A home we are now calling, "Monterey Zoological Society".

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We actually started several years ago, filing the extremely complicated paperwork to establish our new identity as a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which after a pain staking two years was accomplished in the winter of 2011. We broke ground in January of 2012 with the materials had in our construction bone-yard, the help of a few good friends and a hope that things would continue to fall into place as we did what we could at the time with what we had to do it with.

The plan today was to basically develop the remaining unused portions of our 51 acre ranch, constructing large, modern natural open paddock style enclosures as seen in most US zoos today for the larger animals able to be housed in such (lions, tigers, bears...) then after completing and relocating those animals to their new enclosures, we would remodel the existing facility where all the animals were, offering the free remaining space to all the smaller animals which in turn would tremendously amplify the size and atmosphere of their enclosures. With the help of our first and anonymous donor angel, our first exhibit was slated to be for our tigers after which we hoped to secure additional sponsorships and funding for additional exhibits. In essence, we're building a REAL zoo, something we feel the Monterey County community is ready for and deserving of. Aside from offering our animals a far greater quality of life, it will increase the times people can visit the animals and hopefully make their visits more comfortable, educational, entertaining and enjoyable. Santa Barbara, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose have one, we feel its high time Monterey have its own. 

And in doing things the old fashioned way, Charlie's way, we're doing it all ourselves so that 100% of our funding goes directly to supplies and materials that will help our dream materialize for our animals that much faster and economically. Be sure to check back and scroll down often for we intend to make post our progress as that happens and hopefully, you can find a way to help us build what we hope will be a monumental facility that Monterey County will always take great pride in having.

YOU CAN HELP.

FUNDING IS SO VERY MUCH NEEDED TO KEEP US WORKING. NO-ONE IS GETTING PAID EXTRA, THIS FACILITY IS BEING BUILT BY CHARLIE HIMSELF AND THE MONTEREY ZOO's AND VISION QUEST RANCH'S NORMAL STAFF LONG WITH VOLUNTEERS SO THAT YOUR DONATIONS GO TOWARDS THE MATERIALS NEEDED ONLY.

Donations can be made by clicking on the link below. Those having materials and/or labor skills they feel might help our cause should contact us now.

 Ground Breaking 2012

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Donate Now Please

Click here to make a Donation.

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The first phase of our transition will move our lions, tigers and bears to an area off the zoo we  affectionately intend to call "Oz" (circled in red above) but we hope to keep the seclusion of our B&B in mind affording our overnight guests the privacy and serenity they've grown to expect.

Moving these large animals out of the lower property will open ALLOT of space to the remaining animals to be spread out into much large enclosures also.

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When Barcelo Nursery called to ask if we could use some very large palm trees they had to find a home for, we did just that, the perfect border to the main path of our new exhibits but receiving, moving and planting these little giants was a bit more than we expected...

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 ...but we got it done and they're all in the ground and doing well. Thank-you Barcello Nursery.

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It might not look like much but putting the underground utilities in for the area was a huge undertaking. Over 4000 linear feet of trenching (special thanks to Ken Beck for loaning Charlie the back-hoe) and over 8000 linear feet of water pipe and electric conduit, all buried now and stubbed up to service the animals one day.

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If you've been following our journey, you know what a HUGE hurdle this was.

Over 4 miles of 8ft. 9-gage chain-link fencing, some coated green, some slatted for privacy but all in all, it's up and surrounding the new permitter of our zoo.

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Now we're at the drawing board, designing our first exhibits and new homes for our animals.

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Our tiger exhibit will be first followed very shortly (God and funds willing...) by our lion and bear exhibits. That will free up ample space in the original facility to begin building much large habitats for the smaller animals.

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Every day that goes by, we look, we stare, we make changes and we continue to collect the many necessary components for when we begin putting stakes in the ground.

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Our new sign and entrance is yet another aspect of this project that a great deal of thought is going into.

After two years of dreaming, drawing, acheiving our non-profit, collecting what materials we could and knocking on doors, a very special donor angel came into our lives and told us to "get started." She wanted to see the tigers in their new exhibit asap. Although she still insists today on remaining anonymous, we must start this pictorial by sharing how kind, generous and sincere this individual is for her hope was simply to give, to both the animals and the community.

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One of our first hurdles was an ADA compliant ramp to get folks from the original portion of the property to the new one. Special Thanks to Freeman Lumber for treating us so well on this project and all the others to follow.

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"One man's fallen trees are another man's ... tiger toys" And thanks to our very special friends at Zarco's Landscaping, we were able to not only solve some tree problems but also stock pile the trunks for our future big cat and bear exihibits.

Special thanks also to Bark Walker of Pacific Ag Rentals for loaning us a forklift big enough to move these monster tiger toys.

A VERY special thanks to Granite Rock for their obvious contribution to our dream... One of our greatest  and "Heaviest" gifts. n

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A place to watch people from...

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Let the fencing begin...Special thanks to Sanger Fence for joining us WAY outside the box on this project.

A tiger size swimming pool...

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Viewing windows was a huge addition to the plan. Special thanks to Coast County Glass for helping make that happen.

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...with water falls of course!

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August 22, 2015, it all came together enough for us to feel comfortable calling Monterey Zoo's Tiger Exhibit complete...

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Behind our exhibits are the very secure and comfortable night quarters for our kitties.

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A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Glen, Wendy and George at Salinas Valley Fabrication for helping retrofit our nightquarters to the exhibit along with slided doors to accomodate emergency transport caging. A HUGE DONATION!!!

When FISH need a Home...

...and the zoo needs an Entrance...

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... so when Monterey Zoo's Donor and Director, Tony Sammut (yes, Charlie's Dad) called to say he had a family of Koi that needed a home and that he would donate the materials necessary to rebuild the zoo's entrance if the project could include that home, Charlie and Co. took a 30 day break from all other activities and did just that !!!

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It had to be a Record BREAKING Koi Pond Building if there was such a competition!!!

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Then back to the task at hand...

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Again and again, we thank our very special anonymous donor "Angel" for her love of animals, children and community. An now, even more so for her friendship as she's become just that to us, a true friend. No was never in her vocabulary. But those of you who know this person, already know all this.

In October of 2015, our "Donor Angel" looked at our lions and once again told us to

"...keep working..."

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AS THE CONSTRUCTION RECIPE THAT WORKED SO WELL FOR TIGERS REMAINED THE SAME, WE'LL SPARE YOU THE MANY CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS PHOTOS AND CUT TO WHAT WE ARE SO PROUD TO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED IN LESS THAN FOUR MONTHS FOR THE LIONS OF MONTEREY ZOO.

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EVEN BIGGER!!!

AND BETTER!!!

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The lions of Monterey Zoo are now happy and thriving in their spacious new habitat during the day and tucked safely and securely to bed each evening in their evening quarters.

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With the dedication, hard work and tenacity of Charlie and the Monterey Zoo and Vision Quest Ranch Staff, the lion exhibits not only saw a completion date ahead of schedule, it came in "UNDER BUDGET" affording the zoo enough funding to at least start BEARS!!! But our camels happened to be located where the bears were soon to be relocated ...

... and 40 DAYS later, the camels, alpacas and llamas of Monterey Zoo moved into their brand new, much more spacious and secure habitat with the gracious help and donations of Cooper Roofing, Pacific Ag Rentals, and many more who pitched in to make this project happen.

But it was short a place for people to actually see their exhibit so while all this was happening, a viewing deck that afforded visitors an alternative access to the new OZ exhibit was also squeezed out of the budget and into the build schedule.

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And NOW it time to start BEARS!!! But funding is needed to complete this project.

Please check back soon to follow our progress, and PLEASE, ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP our community realize this much needed asset sooner would be SO APPRECIATED.

Donate Now Please

Click here to make a Donation.

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400 River Road   Salinas, CA  93908      (831) 455-1901     Fax (831) 455-1902

call us at (800) 228-7382

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