October 29, 2019
Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary and Carol Holliman.
So, before we jump into specific questions about your organization, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Our story actually began back in the late 80’s in Abilene, Texas, with a couple of Siberian Huskies, Boris, and Natasha, who migrated across the state with us and, set in motion our desire for the wolf hybrids. We got our first wolf hybrid, Kina, in 1991, and then Konee, a male, shortly thereafter. Together, they produced some beautiful cubs over the years that we intended to sell, but since we were never meant to be breeders, our love for them would not allow that, and we ended up keeping all the cubs.
Since those early days of caring for canines, we let loose our passion and empathy for big cats. In the early nineties, we were naive enough to purchase a twelve-day old cougar that we named Cayman (the site of our last vacation). Raising Cayman from such a young cub was such a great experience. It also opened our eyes to the plight of exotic cats in captivity. Undertaking the responsibility for the health and well-being of an exotic animal can be much more than the average individual expects, plans for, or can afford. For this reason, we found a problem with placing abused, abandoned, neglected, confiscated, and unwanted cats. It is a big problem that we set out to help in a small way by taking confiscated or surrendered exotic cats.
In that more than 20 years, PrideRock has become the home of more than 70 animals that are with us today or have crossed the Rainbow Bridge after years of care.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Things have not always been smooth and often challenging. The first 20 years were very hard because we couldn’t afford employees so after spending all day in downtown Dallas at jobs, we came home and spent 3-4 hours each night feeding and cleaning up. There was also a financial burden the first few years until we became a non-profit and started getting donations. The hardest part of all has been all the losses of these animals that have become family members. The sadness is unbearable and devastating, but we always have tried to move on for all the ones that we still have. Having said this, I will say that having PrideRock has been our greatest joy and such a Labor of Love. There are no regrets and we are very proud of what we have accomplished.
We’d love to hear more about your organization.
PrideRock Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit that provides permanent sanctuary and shelter for mistreated and unwanted wild animals. We are home to lions, tigers, cougars, wolf hybrids, bears, a hyena, and numerous rescued dogs.
I have to say that I’m most proud of being able to have the opportunity to care for these magnificent animals and to spend time with them day in and day out. It is an honor to share our lives with them, and I sense that they are very happy and most of all, know how much they are loved. I think that the fact that we are a private facility sets us apart most of all. These animals deserve to live out their lives in peace without the stress of being open to the public and having people invading their space.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I would have to say that our very generous donors deserve a ton of credit because we couldn’t do it without them. One of our very early donors, Joseph Segal, deserves the credit of making a large donation to help us get started and also helped us in selecting the name PrideRock Wildlife Refuge. Nancy Wulff, one of our board members has also been instrumental through the years with her donations that have helped us feed and build the enclosures, particularly the bear enclosures. We couldn’t do it without our donors and volunteers!
Read more here: http://voyagedallas.com/interview/meet-gary-holliman-carol-holliman-priderock-wildlife-refuge-terrell-tx/
Each morning at PrideRock Wildlife Refuge, staff and volunteers diligently prepare 300 pounds of food for the 32 tigers, lions and cougars that call the refuge home. Unwrapping marbled steaks and tender chicken breasts from store packaging, they place them in industrial-sized stainless steal bowls and pans. The scale of the operation is impressive – the environmental impact is even more so.
The animals at PrideRock in Terrell, Texas feast on food waste diverted from local landfills. Through Quest Resource Management Group’s food recycling program, PrideRock receives an average of 2,000 pounds of much needed fresh meat for their big cats each week.
Not only does this food recycling partnership help the non-profit wildlife refuge feed animals in need, it combats greenhouse gas emissions from rotting food in landfills. Decomposing food waste creates and releases methane gas, a greenhouse gas 25 percent more potent then carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere. In addition, recycling one ton of food waste per week has the equivalent environmental benefit of removing 118 cars from the road for a year.
As grocers pull meat from the shelves due to looming best by dates, the food is held for the participating animal park or wildlife refuge.
“Sometimes we get stuff that won’t go out of date for another week, and sometimes we get stuff that the sell by date was last week. But that doesn’t mean the meat is bad,” said Corey Allison, an animal keeper at PrideRock. “The meat that we take is good quality and it does help our cats,” he added.
Win-Win-WinDirect-feed food recycling is a win for animal parks, the environment and retailers alike. Participating grocers benefit from reduced costs associated with landfill disposal of heavy meat products, reduced environmental footprint and increased community involvement.
Animal parks like PrideRock rely on food donations to provide nutritional, healthy diets for the animals in their care. Money saved through the direct-feed program goes to providing safe enclosures and toys for enrichment activities.
Interested in a direct-feed food recycling program for your retail location or animal park? Visit questrmg.com/animalpark/ for more information.
The Terrell Tribune/Gary E Lindsley
Looking for fish? No. Coco is testing the water in the pool of her new habitat at PrideRock Wildlife Refuge.
If you missed Animal ER on Nat Geo Wild Sept. 10, click on the link below. Nia had an emergency laparoscopic hysterectomy at Gulf Coast Veterinary Clinic. This episode is available on-demand to customers of participating TV providers.