Scott Lope founded Animal Warriors and is hoping to open a sanctuary in the Wilmington area
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The volunteers behind "Animal Warriors" envision a large preserve in the Wilmington area that can be a home for animals of all shapes and sizes.
The driving force behind the idea in Wilmington is Scott Lope. Lope founded Animal Warriors after running a rescue facility for lions and tigers in Florida for more than 10 years. The group's goal is to establish a large permanent facility in the area, which would serve as a long-term home for exotic animals, provide emergency relief and assistance to local animal rescue groups, establish an education center, and operate as "off the grid/green" as possible.
Lope and other volunteers hosted a fundraising dinner Tuesday night at Aubriana's in Downtown Wilmington. Lope shared his vision for the local sanctuary, which he says would include several hundred acres of land manned by volunteers and experts. He admitted it will be a costly venture, but said the lessons he learned working in Florida would serve him well in launching a facility in southeastern North Carolina.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and councilman Charlie Rivenbark attended the dinner, to hear more about the group's effort. Several fundraisers have taken place, and more are planned to educate the public on the Animal Warriors.
Lope has appeared on many networks including The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, and was named "Hero of the Year" by Animal Planet for 2009 for his rescue and advocacy work.