SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — It's one of the most respected exotic animal sanctuaries in the world, but right now, just like other San Diego non-profits, it's suffering.
Lions, Tigers, and Bears is still caring for 65 rescued animals at its animal sanctuary during this pandemic, despite the fact donations have plunged, and several staff members have been laid off.
"It's been hard since this whole thing started and we had to close to the public," said founder Bobbi Brink.
To care for the exotic animals is expensive and it takes a lot of work.
"Every Tuesday we prep all the carnivores food for the entire week," said Brink.
"The meat shortage is making [meat] a little bit more scarce and a little bit more expensive," she added.
The animal sanctuary is run entirely on donations. Brink said since the pandemic started, donations have been down about 40%. Their biggest fundraiser of the year had to be postponed.
They were forced to lay off several staff members. To maintain social distancing, they also had to cut back on volunteers.
On top of feeding the animals, habitats have to be cleaned once a day. The 93 acre property also has to be maintained.
Brink is doing her best to remain optimistic. For her, caring for these rescued animals is everything.
"We're just taking it day by day," she said.
Brink is hoping to open the sanctuary to private visits next week.
Right now, friends of Lions, Tigers & Bears will be matching all donations until June 30. The goal is to raise $30,000, which would then double to $60,000. If you would like to help, click here.
WATCH the full interview below: