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Ontario zoo trying to save CrocTalk reptiles from euthanasia

Doug Illman is forced to relocate more than a dozen crocodilians he has at his East Kelowna reptile exhibition.
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July 15, 2015 - 6:29 PM

KELOWNA – A reptile rescue organization in Ottawa is currently raising funds to save more than a dozen animals currently housed at CrocTalk in Kelowna from euthanasia.

The animals, which include four alligators, one crocodile and 13 caimans, are welcome at Little Rays Reptiles in Hamilton, Ontario any time, but according to their GoFundMe page, they will need as much as $12,000 for safe and secure transport.

CrocTalk in Kelowna has seen its share of troubles since opening to the public in 2002 and according to a report in the Vancouver Province, the owners of his property at 4493 Stewart Rd. East have evicted him for not paying rent. In October of last year Fortis B.C. shut off power to the facility for not paying its bills.

CrocTalk’s owner, Doug Illman, could not be reached for comment but what is known is that without having a business licence, he faces numerous bylaw infractions and according to Greg Wise of the City of Kelowna, “things may be going to court.”

In a July 12 Facebook post, Illman alluded to his troubles but he continues to raise funds to save the business. His own GoFundMe page has raised $1,156 of $15,000.

“I'm terribly sorry about the closing of CrocTalk and my dream for this community,” he wrote on his personal Facebook page July 12. “Brenda and I only wanted to leave an exciting, educational footprint in Kelowna for generations to come.

“When the province wouldn't renew my zoo permit because our Temperary Use Permit (TUP) had expired on this land I've been on for almost 11 years, the City then refused to renew my business licence (even a temporary one) or even extend our TUP for another 6 months here while we relocated. Not open to public caused again a financial burden that we couldn't climb out of even with the dedication of a few dedicated supporters fundraising (sic).”

Little Rays Reptiles GoFundMe page says if the money is not raised, the animals face euthanasia.

“We have already found homes for most of them but the export papers will take up to three months to get done and they need to be moved in the next 2 weeks,” the page says. “We know we have the support of the Canadian authorities to export them but the process takes time on our end and the receiving institutions end. Little Ray's Reptile Zoo is 100 per cent committed to covering any short fall for the care and maintenance of the animals in Ottawa until they can be exported. Our first priority is to raise the $12,000 required to get them from B.C. to Ottawa.”

When asked what will happen to the animals if a suitable home cannot be found, Greig Bethel of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said the ministry has "been working closely with the permit holders on exploring all relocation options in hopes of finding suitable homes for all the animals. The permit holder is working directly with other facilities to try to get them transferred."

To make a donation to help save the crocodiles, visit the Little Rays Reptiles fundraising page

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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