PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Wildlife Prairie Park will receive money from the state of Illinois to update its wolf and cougar enclosures, the park announced on Monday.
Additionally, the $150,970 from the state’s Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant Program will help bring new animals to the facility which could include a leucistic red fox, two porcupines, free range roosters, and a horse.
“We are humbled and appreciative to be chosen from such a large group of worthy applicants,” said Wildlife Prairie Park Executive Director Roberta English, “It’s a reminder that the Park truly is a ‘Jewel of the Midwest’ that can attract tourists to our entire region.”
Last winter, four 9-month-old wolves were introduced to the park with plans to add to the wolf pack this spring. Also, Wildlife Prairie Park hopes to add three female cougars after their habitat is completed.
New fencing, specialty welded parts for the dens, and more are required to not only meet, but exceed federal regulations to create a natural environment that is safe for both the animals and the animal keepers.
The grant program is administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as part of a $22.5 million investment for nearly 90 local tourism festivals and attractions across Illinois.
Wildlife Prairie Park’s grant was selected through a competitive process, which required demonstrating how the award would help businesses in the surrounding area, as well as the project’s ability to attract visitors for overnight stays.