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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – We’re learning more about a zoo planning to be built from the ground up in north Alabama.

The North Alabama Zoological Society announced it has entered an agreement to buy two properties in Limestone County along Interstate 65, but it’s kicking off some major fundraising efforts to make that purchase happen.

Animals native to north Alabama will be the first installment once the nearly 300-acre north Alabama zoological park gets up and running, but $11 million dollars stand in the way of purchasing the property that will house those animals and many others.

Organizers told News 19 why they’re looking to get these funds secured as soon as possible.

“These properties are under agreement right now, which means that they could also be bought out from under us so there’s a little bit of an urgency to get this funding put together quickly,” NALZS Executive Director Ethan Woodruff said.

He hopes to raise the $11 million by the end of the year. Woodruff says in addition to seeking funds from private partners and passionate community members, they’re also looking at state funding and are even working with local legislators on forming an action council.

“This is to help figure out other ways and other channels to get the money that we need to make this go faster,” he said.

There has not been a new zoo in the state of Alabama built from the ground up in years.

When asked ‘why now,’ Woodruff replied:

“Huntsville is growing, there has to be some sort of critical mass to support such an endeavor,” he said. “One of the things people ask is, ‘well, what happens if you don’t get this money?’ And the answer is we keep fundraising. We keep going after it.”