Story and photos by Joel Ryerson
July 31, 2009 (Alpine)--"Look how close you are!" exclaimed Lynn Hopewell, a guest of the overnight event at Lions, Tigers, and Bears in Alpine. "When I was up in Las Vegas I saw the cats at the MGM Grand, but this is a totally different experience," added Hopewell, who was amazed at how close you could get to the big cats.
The occasion was a campout last weekend to help raise funds for exotic animals at East County’s big-cat rescue facility. About thirty five guests attended the event, which included a rustic barbecue dinner prepared by the crew. Guests brought their own tents and set them up in a grassy area right next to the Big Cat enclosures. Guests were free to roam around the area and check out the variety of wild cats in the enclosures, which included tigers, lions, bobcats, mountain lions, leopards, and more.