Central Illinois man withdraws permit application for zoo

ARTHUR, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man has pulled his request for a special-use permit to build a zoo and drive-through wild animal park on farmland in Moultrie County.

James Aikman says it would be an “uphill battle” at the 140-acre site near Arthur, even if county officials approved the permit. Instead, Aikman says he’s not giving up and will look for a less contested location to open Aikman Wildlife Adventure next year.

Moultrie County’s planner confirmed Tuesday that he had received an email from Aikman, saying he was withdrawing his application for the permit.

The county’s zoning board declined earlier this month to issue the permit that Aikman needed for the zoo. He also faced opposition from landowners near the proposed site.