As a teenager, Isaiah Blair rescued his first wild animal, a baby raccoon he named “Bandit.”

By the time he turned 25, Blair was swimming with tigers and training grizzly bears.

“I’ve always loved (animals),” Blair, of Nelson County, said. “I have a passion. My mom says I should be a teacher. But I love animals and I love animal training.”

Now, Blair has taken his more than 20 years of animal training experience and blended it with teaching to bring Wild Earth Encounters, one of Nelson’s newest businesses, to life.

Wild Earth Encounters is a traveling outreach program that uses live exotic animals as learning tools and visual aids to teach about animals and their habitats, and to “glorify God through his creations,” Blair said.

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