MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pinellas County animal sanctuary is now operating out of a place you’d least expect.
This comes after a fire killed dozens of animals a few months ago at the Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center in Madeira Beach.
“Pretty much all of our survivors are here, with the exception of our crocodilians,” said Education Coordinator Alek Bussell.
Lemurs can be seen jumping off of the walls of an office and rabbits are lying on the carpet of what was once a cubicle.
A former Bank of America is the new temporary home for the Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center.
“When we heard they were going to give us this bank, we thought, it’s a place to start,” Bussell said. “We’ve kind of turned it into a mini zoo here using everything we have.”
It comes after around 100 animals were killed in a fire News Channel 8 covered in July.
“Almost all of our mammals were lost during the fire and almost all of our snakes,” he said.
There was immense damage to the animal sanctuary, which is what landed these animals inside the walls of a former bank.
Bussell made it clear that this isn’t their forever home.
“Hopefully in the next month or so we’re going to begin our new construction on our new habitats for our animals at the new rebuilding of the center,” he added.
Bussell said he’s hoping to open that new center by Thanksgiving, bringing new hope for the animals that survived the fire.
“We’re starting to feel very confident about our ability to bring these guys into a new center, but one that’s being built form the ground up that will be bigger and better than anything these guys have had,” he said.
In the meantime, the Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center is open for visitors.
You can find all of the information on where it’s location and when you can visit here.