Faircloth Zoo Lillian Caudill
Featured the Rescue of Shadow the Bear
Bear in Brunswick County needs new home
Shadow is a black bear living in the former Faircloth Zoo in Bolivia. His owner, Lillian Caudill, has been trying to find Shadow a home since the zoo closed in December 2007.
Photo By Matt Born
Published: Friday, August 19, 2011 at 11:26 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.
Shadow is a massive black bear, more than six feet tall when on his hind legs. He would be intimidating if he didn’t tenderly lick a marshmallow out of his owner’s hands.
How to help
Want to help Shadow? Call Howard Loughlin at 233-8486.
He’s the last resident of the Faircloth Zoo – and the people who love him are still struggling to find him a home.
For eight years, the zoo off McKay Road in Bolivia was a popular destination for day cares, schools and nursing homes.
It started as more of a petting zoo, but soon was home to lions, tigers, deer, elk, water buffalo and more.
“It was nice while it lasted,” said owner Lillian Caudill, who still lives on the property.
But slowly, the zoo fell apart. A barn burned down in 2003. In 2004, the owners lost a lawsuit filed by a woman who accused them of neglecting a few of her animals. In 2005, Lillian’s then-husband and zoo co-owner William Faircloth was charged with second-degree rape, though state records show he was not convicted.
After that, the customers stopped coming, the zoo closed and the couple divorced.
It took a year to find homes for most of the animals. But two bears, Jerry and Shadow, weren’t wanted.
Jerry passed away earlier this year at age 17 or 18.
That leaves Shadow as the lone resident in the row of metal cages, overgrown with weeds.
Pender County bear enthusiast Howard Loughlin has worked for three years to try to find the bears a home but run into roadblocks at every turn.
“It’s hard to find a home for a kitty cat,” Loughlin said. “Imagine a bear.”
Primarily, it’s the cost.
Gary Evans of the Lynwood Park Zoo in Jacksonville said he has been trying to find a way to bring Shadow up to live there, but it won’t be this year.
“The economy has just beat us down this year,” he said, noting that the smoke from the area’s wildfires has also kept business away.
He estimated that it would cost $10,000 to $15,000 to build an enclosure to hold him.
The zoo is one of few options around the country.
Bobbi Brink, founder of the California-based Lions, Tigers & Bears rescue organization, has been helping the search, but she said homes for bears are hard to come by.
She pointed to a surplus of animals that have been bred by unscrupulous businessmen who are only interested in them for a short window of time.
“We have to turn away a ton of animals a week,” she said.
So for now, the search continues.
“I’ve looked everywhere, called all kind of people,” Loughlin said. “I’ve never stopped looking.”
Andrew Dunn: 343-2328
On Twitter: @Andrew_Dunn