The founder of the Wildlife Waystation, a refuge for about 500 homeless lions, tigers, bears and other wild animals in Little Tujunga Canyon, said Wednesday that she is abandoning efforts to hold the fund-raising events that keep the refuge operating.
The decision by Martine Colette places in doubt the future of the 160-acre facility, which may be a victim of its own popularity.
The refuge, which has been supported for eight years by donations, volunteer labor and fund-raising events, provides a home for wild animals abandoned by private owners, victimized by mistreatment or exiled for attacking human beings. It has a feed bill of $25,000 a month, according to Colette.
The growing crowds at the barbecues, chili cook-offs and Western festivals Colette staged to raise money drew the attention of county authorities. The crowds--10,000 at the last event--were too big to allow the events to be considered private parties, authorities told Colette, warning that she would have to meet regulations covering public gatherings.