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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Plans to build a zoo in north Alabama are still full steam ahead, but the non-profit behind it all needs some help buying the property it will sit on.

The North Alabama Zoological society says the piece of land they plan to purchase for use as a research and education campus is at risk of being bought by housing developers.

In all, the organization needs $11 million to buy two different pieces of property. One-piece, a 279-acre parcel off of I-65 just south of Tanner, will cost a little more than $7 million. That land will be home to the main zoological park.

The other property, a 200-acre tract north of Madison near Limestone Creek, would host the research campus. That property will cost about $4 million to buy. But the person who owns the proposed research property has been approached by several residential developers who have expressed interest in purchasing it.

If the Zoological Society doesn’t come up with the $4 million soon, their preferred location could slip from their reach.

The organization’s executive director, Ethan Woodruff, says the research site and the zoo site are two separate projects that are not dependent on one another. However, the goal is for the two sites to work in conjunction with one another.

Woodruff stressed that both projects will see completion. When those projects open to the public is dependent on how quickly they can raise the funds.

The zoo is offering naming rights for both the zoological park and the research campus for high-profile donors. They’re also offering other incentives for donations of a lesser amount.

You can find information on how to donate on the North Alabama Zoological Society’s website.