One of the twin boy tigers born at Cedar Cove in 2006 (Panthera tigris)
Cedar Cove Feline Conservation Park in Louisburg, Kansas opened on August 27, 2000 as a preserve for tigers and a refuge for all kinds of big cats which are abandoned, neglected or whose owners are unable to care for them. The park's founder, William Pottorff, opened Cedar Cove on donated land. He has since retired and the park is now managed by Larry Fries.
The story of Cedar Cove is constantly evolving. When I first visited the conservation park in 2005, there were 7 tigers and various smaller cats such as leopards, cougars, bobcats and caracals. But Cedar Cove welcomes new species and Larry Fries has a hard time saying no to any animal that needs a home. New species in the park include African lions, servals, and leopard cats, plus non felines such as the white-nosed coati and wolves.
Yes, wolves. a few years ago, Cedar Cove took in an elderly wolf which was being abused by the pack at another conservation park. In the wild, it would have been driven from the pack and died. But a new enclosure was built for the old male wolf (an even larger one is now under construction) and in time, two young wolves were brought to Louisburg so the wolf would not be alone. The old wolf has since passed on, but Cedar Cove continues to be a home to the younger wolves.
These wolves have become very social and show a lot of affection for the staff (as do all of the animals). The volunteers are careful to explain that they are still wild animals and the difference between their captive behavior and what people experience in the wild. These animals would net survive if they were released in the wild.
Cedar Cove is not a zoo - it is primarily concerned with species preservation and providing a home for large cats which can no longer be cared for by their owner or facility. It is impressive that so many volunteers work so hard to preserve a quality of life for these animals.
The only regular hours for visiting the conservation park are on Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to allow at least an hour as a volunteer will take you and a small group on a tour where you will learn a great deal about each animal. Tours can be arranged on other days for groups of at least 25 people.
These photos are available for purchase at Keith Stokes Fine Arts Gallery
copyright 2005-2014 by Keith Stokes