GENTRY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Wild Wilderness Safari Drive-Through Safari in Gentry announced its closing on March 9.
The zoo says on its website several business factors affecting the operations of the safari resulted in the decision.
“We have greatly enjoyed providing a fun and educational experience and appreciate the support of our many friends and visitors since the 1970s,” the website says.
In March 2017, the zoo was shut down after the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a citation. One of the allegations against the zoo was a lack of veterinary care for the animals.
Another violation from the USDA was the safety of the animals and visitors was at risk because of substandard fencing.
The zoo had added heated floors to the facility because it had received complaints that some animals were getting frostbite after being left out in the cold.
USDA filed the complaint at the beginning of 2017 for violations that happened between 2012 and 2016.
The zoo reopened in March 2019 after it was hit with a $75,000 fine.
In September 2019, the zoo was met with scrutiny when a video surfaced of a bear attacking a pony.
After bears, ponies, and goats were mixed up in a single cage, cell phone video captured a bear clutching a pony in an attacking manner.
In October 2019, PETA sent a letter asking the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Arkansas State Police to investigate the zoo over the incident.
In the letter, PETA noted that the zoo’s practice of housing dangerous captive wildlife and domestic animals in the same enclosures places the vulnerable animals at serious risk of sustaining injuries, suffering, and dying.