It’s the law. Florida is a No Contact state with your safety in mind, and the FWC Florida Fish and wildlife requires that ALL guest to our sanctuary stay back and absolutely no touching. We don’t want animals or humans to get hurt. Here’s the deal. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, even to an experienced animal handler. Our first and foremost responsibility is to keep everyone safe. That means if a human doesn’t abide by the safety rules, manages to stick their arm into an enclosure and gets it torn off by a tiger, then, because of their human dumbness, we then have to put that animal down, which is a whitewashed way of saying, execute. That’s according to the law. Then there’s the person left with one less appendage (and that’s getting away lucky) and huge medical costs that EARS simply can’t afford to pay. We struggle just to make ends meet.
While it may seem harsh, we are VERY strict about the four feet rule and will ask visitors to leave the premises if they do not abide by our safety rules. And as cuddly as the animals look, they are still wild animals. They may just be playing and not even mean to hurt you, but with their incredible strength, stealth, speed and size, our puny human flesh & bones don’t stand a chance. Trained EARS Staff & Volunteers are the animals protectors and they take that responsibility seriously. Would you expect any less of them?