Moose Jaw Wild Animal Park

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Moose Jaw Wild Animal Park

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Description area

Dates of existence

1928-1995

History

The Moose Jaw Wild Animal Park Society was formed in 1928 following two years of promotion of the subject by Frank McRitchie, a Moose Jaw real estate agent. John R. Green allowed the use of several hundred acres of his property along the Moose Jaw River south of the City.
The park was officially opened on May 25, 1929, with events on the previous day as well. As it had not been officially named, it was called Chief Sitting Bull Park at the time of the opening but this was later dropped and was simply referred to as the Moose Jaw Wild Animal Park.
A number of native and non-native animals were imported and displayed including bison, bears, wolves and a variety of North American fowl. As time went on, more exotic animals were purchased including lions and a hippo which was injured in transport to Moose Jaw and had to be euthanized en route.
Breeding programs with wild turkey and pheasant are greatly responsible for the current populations of these species in Saskatchewan.
The park was owned/operated by several different groups:
From 1929 to 1958 it was operated by a volunteer group but by the 1950's it was felt that the group was too small to handle the operation and some of the service organizations were asked to get involved.
In 1958, operation of the park was taken over by a committee of the Moose Jaw Lions Club.
It was taken over by the provincial government ca. 1965 and operated as a regional park until 1987 when it was privatized by the Devine government.
It was operated by several private owners until 1994 when it was purchased by Dr. You Seuk Sung. He was unable to arrange liability insurance and the park was closed to the public in September 1995. Litigation followed over ownership and the length of time that Dr. Sung had been allowed to pursue insurance.
A Moose Jaw Wildlife Park Society was active in 2001, primarily to explore future use of the park lands.

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