The Wild Animal Sanctuary
1946 County Road 53
Keenesburg, CO 80643
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the oldest and largest nonprofit Sanctuary in the US dedicated exclusively to rescuing captive exotic and endangered large carnivores, providing them with a wonderful life for as long as they live, and educating about the tragic plight faced by an estimated 30,000 such animals in America today.
Established by Executive Director Pat Craig in 1980, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, DBA The Wild Animal Sanctuary, is a state and federally licensed zoological facility and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Originally started on Pat’s family farm outside Boulder, CO, TWAS soon moved to Lyons, CO, where there was more room for the animals, and to provide for future expansion. After eight years in that location, TWAS was forced to move again due to a limestone quarry moving in nearby. The Sanctuary currently sits on 720 acres 50 miles east of Boulder. There is plenty of space for the animals’ 20 large acreage habitats, along with room to grow while still maintaining large grassland buffers.
Open for Visitors - The Wild Animal Sanctuary is open for Visitors *Note - NO DOGS ALLOWED
SUMMER HOURS: May 1st through September 30th
Every Day - 7 days a week - 9:00am – Sunset (except the 4th of July)
WINTER HOURS: October 1st through April 30th
Every Day - 7 days a week - 9:00am – 4:00pm (except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day - and bad weather)
Cost to Visit
Cash, checks, Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, and Debit Cards all gratefully accepted.
We are only closed four days a year - Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. In the event of snow storms or other extreme weather, it’s always a good idea to call before driving out, 303-536-0118.
How Do I Get There? For a map and directions, please click on the icon below:
Physical Address: The Wild Animal Sanctuary
1946 County Road 53
Binoculars are a great way to see better anywhere you go... and some stationary units are available at no fee on the walkways and decks. Video and still cameras are always great, as they can help record your visit!
What Can I Expect When I Visit?
Your first stop at the Sanctuary will be our big Welcome Center & Gift Shop. You’ll be welcomed by TWAS staff and volunteers, where you’ll pay your entrance fee and receive an orientation about the Sanctuary’s work, as well as the rules and regulations. From there, you will proceed to walk on ramps, the Mile Into The Wild walkway, and observation decks up above the animals.
Our walkway system spans more than 300 acres of animal habitats, so most visitors stay two to three hours minimum, but you are welcome to stay as long as you like while we’re open. Most ramps, walkways and decks are wheel-chair and stroller accessible.
You’ll walk above some animals who are in very large enclosures (during their transition period until they are ready to move into large acreage habitats with others of their own kind), and you’ll view others in large species-specific habitats of up to 25 acres.
TWAS has more than 290 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Leopards, Mountain Lions, Wolves, and a few smaller carnivores such as Servals, Bobcats, Lynx, Foxes, Coyote and Coati Mundi. We also have also rescued Horses, Emu, Camel & Alpaca, as well as Cats, Dogs, Parrots and other Birds. You’ll get to view most of the animals enjoying life in great big habitats or large enclosures, complete with all kinds of enrichment structures, such as lakes, pools, platforms and other animal “jungle gyms,” as well as “boomer balls” they can roll around or swim with.
At the top of the first ramp is our enclosed Education Center…a round building above the main Tiger compound that features videos by National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet that show incredible rescue stories as well as other interesting information about the Sanctuary. There are also a lot of other printed information about the Sanctuary’s mission and operations.
There is a restroom in the Education Center, as well as men's and women's restrooms on the ground level near both Welcome Centers.
As you walk on the ramps, Mile Into The Wild Walkway, and observation decks, there will be informational signs posted at every habitat and other important area of the Sanctuary. We also have a "Wildlife Audio Tour" that is free to use so that you can learn additional information about the animals near where you’re standing.
Each of the main observation decks has picnic tables and chairs, as does the small garden area at the foot of the main ramp. You are welcome to bring your own picnic lunch... and there is also a fully operational snack bar that offers a wide variety of nutritious food, snacks, and beverages. From sandwiches and wraps to fresh salads and ice cream, there is something for everyone!
“I just wanted to take a moment out of my day to tell you that my wife and I absolutely loved our visit. The sanctuary is amazing and the work you do often goes without its rightful praise I would imagine. Please tell Pat we were especially appreciative of his visit as well, especially since my wife can remember watching "Growing up Leopard" when it premiered on Animal Plant years ago.”
“I remember so vividly the wonderful visits I’ve had at your sanctuary, and since then, I’ve made my birthday an invitation for my friends to send donations on my behalf as birthday gifts. The animals are always in my heart, as well as all of you, for making their comfort and well being a reality. THANK YOU for all that you do!”
Much love always,
“Wild Animal Sanctuary – Thank you so much for your recent ‘Sanctuary News’ – we loved the articles, the great stories and the photos, all were interesting and informative. You folks all are doing such a wonderful job and we are grateful for your dedicated service and care of the animals.”
Again, thanks for all you do!
When you visit The Wild Animal Sanctuary, you’ll be outdoors during most of your visit, walking on ramps, observation decks, and the Mile Into The Wild Walkway to view the animals. So the weather should always be kept in mind when you prepare to visit the animals.
General – Wear comfortable shoes and bring a jacket. The wind is always a little stronger higher up on the decks than on the ground. Bring hats, sun screen and sunglasses. You can bring water, or we sell it in the gift shop (as well as at our Snack Bar). You are also welcome to bring picnic lunches and non-alcoholic beverages. The Snack Bar sells chips, candy and other snacks - as well as soda pop, water and other flavored drinks.
You are welcome to bring binoculars, cameras and video cameras if you are photographing the animals for your own enjoyment. You are also welcome to bring your own picnic lunch and there is a full operational snack bar that offers a wide variety of nutritious food, snacks and beverages. From sandwiches to fresh salads, there is something for everyone!
If you are a professional photographer, videographer, writer or artist, please contact the office, 303-536-0118, for guidelines. If you are going to use your talents to create income, we feel that the animals deserve something from your creative efforts, since they are the subjects that make that possible. We are glad to work with you for the benefit of both yourself and the animals.
Summer – It can get over 100 degrees in late summer, so always bring water, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses. The Welcome Center and the Education Center are enclosed and do provide shade, but they are not the best places for animal viewing. During the hottest months (July and August) the animals are better viewed first thing in the morning - or late afternoon or evening (during Wild Nights) - when they are more visable.
Winter – Colorado winter days can be warm and dry or snowing and blowing…and anything in between. The Sanctuary closes during extreme weather (deep/blowing snow, impassable roads, or extreme cold when the ice on the ramps and decks doesn’t melt). That being said, we are still open most every day. To be ready for colder weather, wear coats that protect against cold and wind, hats, gloves and scarves. If the weather is bad, or forecast to be bad, always call before coming out.
Spring – Springtime in the Rockies can be balmy and bright, or snowy, rainy and windy. Be prepared for anything! Most likely we’ll be open in any of those conditions, but it’s always a good idea to call before coming out if you’re uncertain as to the weather in our area.
Fall - Same as Spring, only it’s usually milder. Again, if the weather looks “iffy,” call first, 303-536-0118.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a home for all our rescued animals, and while we are very glad you come to visit, we ask that you respect the animals’ home. We don’t have many, but the rules we do have are designed for the comfort and benefit of the animals and the viewing pleasure and safety of visitors, so it is important that you understand the rules and follow them.
Welcome Center personnel will review Sanctuary rules with you before you enter the viewing areas, and there is a sign listing the rules posted at the foot of the ramp to the main observation deck. Other signs are posted at the Sanctuary entrance, around the observation decks and along the fences around the parking lots and along the road leading in to and out of the Sanctuary. We greatly appreciate your adherence to the Sanctuary rules!
By today’s environmental standards, a self-sustaining tiger population - based on 7,000 plus animals - would be considered a success story. However, when those 7,000 tigers are found in captivity - living outside of our public zoo system – it is considered a travesty. Why aren’t they in zoos? Or better yet, why aren’t they in the wild where they belong? The answer, as always, lies in their association with another inhabitant of earth… man.
Even though captivity has become a way of life for many species of animals, not all animals can, or should be domesticated - Great Cats being one of them. For hundreds of years man has made a practice of capturing animals from the wild for use in captivity. Early displays of captured wildlife were found to be fascinating, as they gave zoo-going onlookers an exciting glimpse of life from far-off places. And so, for many years wildlife seemed destined to be captured and sent to an ever-growing number of zoos throughout the world.
Yet, by the mid-nineteen hundreds, the total number of public zoos began to stabilize and the number of animals needing to be caught from the wild began to reduce. However, animal populations in captivity continued to grow as a result of management practices that many zoos had adopted (which were directly related to their desire for an increase in attendance). Some zoos believed prolific breeding demonstrated the zoo’s success in captive wildlife management, while many others admittedly saw cute baby animals as a fool proof way to bolster public attendance. In either case, captive populations grew to unsustainable levels, as size limitations and budget constraints shackled most zoos. Continual births left zoos little choice but to surplus or euthanize animals of their own creation.
Surplus animals leaving the zoo system found their way into a number of private places throughout the world. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these animals were transitioned with little, or no regard to their future well being. By leaving the surplus animal’s destiny in the hands of animal traders (who saw nothing but profit in their excess) public zoos set the stage for what was to become a captive wildlife crisis over the next forty years. By continually dumping surplus animals into the private sector, many zoos unwittingly planted thousands of seeds for captive wildlife breeding, commercialization and abuse. Exotic animals such as lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and a whole host of other species (many of which were threatened or endangered) began to permeate the backyards & basements of the world. Exploited in every way - and bred by the thousands in exotic equivalents to “puppy mills” - their numbers grew exponentially.
Today, these animals can be found everywhere from extravagant Las Vegas magic shows, to shopping malls, to roadside zoos, and even in people’s backyards, basements and garages. Like guns, drugs and other illegal items, law enforcement agencies are continually forced to confiscate animals from unlicensed individuals who attempt to keep them as pets. Additionally, many private collections exist in licensed facilities throughout the world - though licensing doesn’t always guarantee the proper or humane treatment of animals.
Regulation for humane treatment and proper licensing has gained little ground toward solving this problem - as the effectiveness and very existence of laws preventing breeding and private ownership vary from state to state, and country to country. Like so many other social dilemmas, little was known about this hidden problem until recently when innocent people began to get hurt, and abused animals began to escape or die. Much like domestic pet Humane Societies discovered thirty years ago… the answer to overpopulation and the mistreatment of animals doesn’t come from rescuing all the unwanted animals – rather, the solution lies in addressing the source of the problem.
Exotic animal mismanagement has reached epidemic proportions, as the entire captive wildlife industry stands divided by their ethical views. Wildlife can be found captive primarily in six basic areas: public zoos, research centers, private wildlife centers, rehabilitation facilities, the entertainment industry, and individual ownership. Regulating and obtaining compliance with sound management practices at any level would be next to impossible without the voluntary acceptance by everyone involved. The key is to find a motivating force, which would effectively work throughout the broad spectrum of captive wildlife fields, and would bring about positive change on a voluntary basis.
Every area of captive wildlife management shares one important factor - their existence largely depends on social need and public opinion. One of the strongest forces created by society today is the check and balance system regulating those things which humans deem to be important - such as health, liberty, safety and other issues including wildlife and the environment. Therefore, the most effective way to attain positive captive wildlife management is through an educated public and the subsequent social pressure they will apply.
Education will allow individuals, groups, and the population in general to gain an understanding of how wildlife is currently managed in captivity - enabling them to discover the reasons behind many questionable management practices. With a general understanding of the issues at hand, people will be able to better interpret the policies of local and national wildlife organizations, as well as that of individuals who choose to engage in exotic animal ownership. Having a better understanding will also encourage people to view captive wildlife keepers more closely, and will encourage them to ask questions that will help to define an operation’s animal management practices. In doing so, people will be able to voice their interests and concerns to the very operations which serve wildlife in their area, as well as society in general.
Taking into account the number of wildlife and conservation organizations operated in the world today, it is incredibly obvious there are many natural things on earth that people relate to... and see as a direct reflection to man’s very existence. The enormous size of organizations that address environmental issues - in areas such as Habitat Conservation and Wildlife Preservation - stand as true testimony to the depth of people’s interest and concern for the well being of wildlife today. There is no doubt the public has the desire to help!
Yet, in order for captive wildlife to benefit from human interest and concern…
their benefactors must first be empowered to help. Education is knowledge...
and knowledge saves lives…
and in this case the lives at stake are those of animals in captivity.
A system that will educate people, is their only hope...
Where do your animals come from?
The vast majority are confiscated by either state entities (like the Division of Wildlife or a County Sheriff’s Office) or Federal entities (like the USDA of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service). Sometimes people abandon their animals, or purposely give them away because they don’t want to care for them anymore…but all of these rescued animals would most likely have been euthanized if TWAS was not able to rescue them.
Isn’t it illegal for people to own these kinds of animals?
Yes, it is illegal in most states for anyone to own an exotic animal as a pet—but some states allow people to have these kinds of animals if they are using them in a business (like a circus, magic act, zoo, movie, animal actors, etc…) and are licensed by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) or other federal law enforcement agencies. But in most cases—people just ignore the laws (or pretend they didn’t know better) and get one anyway.
How can your sanctuary have these animals?
We are licensed by the State of Colorado, the USDA, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a zoological facility.
How are you funded?
We are a 501(c)3 public non-profit—much like a Humane Society for cats and dogs—and have to rely entirely on private contributions, fundraising events, and grants from foundations to stay in operation. The vast majority of the money we raise each year comes from small donations by everyday people who care about the welfare of these animals enough to make a donation as often as they can. We also encourage people to consider putting the Sanctuary in their wills—since that is one of the best ways for the Sanctuary to get significant funding for long-term stability and security for the animals.
Does the government help pay for their care?
No, unfortunately, the government can’t afford to fund any programs to save these kinds of animals—as they have their own budget cut-backs all the time, and are almost always under funded (with their own programs)—so they typically can’t afford to help in any way.
How much does it cost to save one of these animals?
All of the rescued animals at the Sanctuary eat special diets of high quality food, and also require medical care and lots of other things that ad up to a yearly figure for each animal. The larger animals (Lions, Tigers & Bears) each cost about $8,000 per year to feed, house and care for, the medium size animals (Leopards, Mountain Lions, and Wolves) each cost about $6,000 per year, and the small animals (Bobcats, Servals and Coati Mundi) each cost about $4,000 per year.
What do you feed the animals?
The cats and wolves eat a USDA approved, special blend of raw meat that is prepared by a special company in Burlington, CO. The diet consists of beef, horse, poultry, mutton and pork—with vitamins, minerals, and health related organs added—that are ground and mixed together into 10 lbs blocks. We receive weekly deliveries of meat, as we feed about 8,500 lbs. of meat per week to the cats and wolves. The animals are on a “random” feeding schedule. The animals do not get fed every day in order to emulate their natural, wild diet. The Bears eat over 10,500 lbs. of food each week - which is all kinds of different foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, breads, cereals, pasta and meats (since they are omnivores) just like humans. We get about 4,000 lbs of additional food donated to us each week from stores and farmers markets.
Do you feed any live or dead animals?
We do not take in road-kill or any other kind of carcass animals since they are not fresh, or safe, for our animals to eat. Dead animals can bring in all sorts of fleas, ticks and other parasites—which can cause a lot of medical problems for our animals. We only feed the animals a USDA approved diet which has been processed to high-grade specifications. We also do not take old freezer meat or hunter’s unwanted meat since the USDA requires us to feed an approved diet that is made especially for zoo animals.
How do these animals fare in the wintertime?
Many of our animals (Bears, Mountain Lions, Bobcats, Wolves and Siberian Tigers) normally live in cold weather climates so they have no need for heated dens in the winter. However, we do heat the main compound building in the winter—along with the Coati Mundi houses, the African Serval house, Leopard house, and even the Bobcat house. We also provide temperature controlled dens for all other animals—whether they need it or not. Our Bears hibernate all winter in their own special underground dens, and all the other animals living in our large acreage habitats have dens as well that stay 60 degrees year-round, so they can go inside if they need to during bad weather. The Lions, Leopards and Tigers adapt very well to our winter conditions, and only go inside their warm dens during really bad storms.
How do you get the animals here?
We have special trucks, trailers, and semi-tractor trailers that are all specially outfitted with cages, water & food supplies, lifting equipment, and temperature controls to go all over the U.S. to rescue these animals. When we receive a call from a government agency that needs help removing animals from bad situations, we have to be ready and able to go on a moment’s notice, and have the manpower and equipment necessary to do the job.
Do the Tigers in the smaller enclosures get to go out into the habitats?
Yes, the animals living in the roundhouse will all end up in habitats at some point. However, adult Tigers do not get along like Lions and Bears do—so the ones living out in the habitats right now are very special situations—as they were slowly introduced into “Family Groups” and many grew up together from when they were very young. The adult Tigers in the roundhouse area get to take turns going out into the Tiger Pool, and will also eventually move out into new habitats on the Sanctuary’s acreage (to the North), as new groups and habitats get built in the near future.
Does the Sanctuary accept volunteers?
Yes, the Sanctuary is primarily an all-volunteer organization. People are encouraged to go to our website and fill out an application to volunteer. Once you have filled out the form and mailed it to us, the volunteer coordinator will contact you to see what kind of schedule you have and what kinds of activity you are interested in. Our primary needs are in the areas of fundraising, and docents that can speak to visitors and answer questions about the animals…but we also have positions in accounting, animal care, fence building, landscaping, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and event coordination. Volunteer do not have to have previous animal experience to work here—as we teach our volunteers everything they need to know in order to do their tasks.
Does the Sanctuary have a full time vet on staff?
No, but we have a veterinarian that lives just a few miles away and is contracted to be our primary medical person. He is available 24 hours a day for any emergencies we may have. He checks the animals on a regular basis—and also does all of our routine procedures like yearly vaccinations, worming, and small medical treatments. We also utilize Veterinarians from CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Veterinary Referral Specialists for complex or unique medical treatments that require specialized vets or costly equipment.
How long do these animals live?
Most of the big cats live up to 23 years in captivity. However, in the wild, where life is much harder, they would usually live 10 to 14 years. The Bears can live up to 40 years in captivity, since they do not have to work so hard to find food on a daily basis (in the wild a Bear will cover hundreds of miles, weekly, in search of enough food to survive). The Mountain Lions, Wolves, and smaller animals usually live 12 to16 years in captivity and about 8 to 10 in the wild.
Do you breed any of the animals here or ever rescue cubs?
No, we do not breed any of the rescued animals that come to the Sanctuary—as we neuter, spay, or insert contraceptive implants into the animals when the arrive. Usually the males are neutered—since it is the least invasive surgery available, and also reduces aggressive behavior in most males. We do not neuter the male African Lions because their beautiful manes are linked to testosterone levels…which means they would lose their manes if we neutered them, and their manes play an integral role in the social dynamics of the pride. So, for the African Lions, we usually use contraceptive implants to keep the females from becoming pregnant (much like the “Norplant” that is used in humans). Sometimes the Sanctuary will have cubs if we rescued them or if a female animal arrives already pregnant from unregulated activities where they were rescued from—and in those cases—we usually take the babies away within a short time after they are born to protect them. Our facility is not equipped with a nursery for a mother to safely care for her young because we do not breed our animals. Once they are large enough to interact with their own species again, we introduce them back to their parents and/or others of their own kind, so they can live more naturally and enjoy the company of the same species.
When will the Sanctuary be full and no longer able to accept new rescues?
The Sanctuary has always operated on a “floating” basis—which means, as we get additional funding, land, and more resources like volunteers and donated goods and services—we can then expand and help additional animals. We are usually operating near, or at, maximum capacity since we are almost always struggling to gain more resources.
Animals – of the captive large, carnivorous kind – are the reason we exist! For 30 years The Wild Animal Sanctuary has been rescuing captive exotic and endangered Great Cats, Bears and Wolves from being abused, abandoned, exploited or illegally kept. This is the place to learn about the 200+ animals who live at TWAS, and see their pictures and videos.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary specializes in rescuing Large Carnivores - as those are the species that face euthanization more than any other exotic animal - due to the high cost of feeding them... and the extreme danger associated with caring for them. We do take in some smaller carnivores and other exotic animals that have been cast off, but our primary focus has always been rescuing the larger cats, bears and wolves that are so underserved within the Captive Wildlife Crisis.
- African Lions
- Black Bears
- Coati Mundi
- Grizzly Bears
- Mountain Lions
“Nova” – Red Fox, rescued 9/09. Nova was found as a 6-weeks old kit in a Nebraska back yard in March, 2009. He was taken to a rehab facility in that state, where it was determined that he had severe eye dysfunction, and was blind in both eyes. There, he made friends with a young female fox, but when it came time for her to be released into the wild, Nova couldn’t go with her because, because being blind, he would not be able to survive in the wild. He had received treatments to alleviate the pain and infection that had plagued his eyes from birth. When called to take Nova, TWAS was happy to give him a home so he wouldn’t have to be put down.
Shortly after Nova came to the Sanctuary, his eyes got worse, with one of them beginning to rupture. We immediately took him to a veterinary eye specialist, where it was determined that his best shot to be free from chronic infection and pain was to remove his eyes. After a three hour surgery, in which he did remarkably well, little Nova is now on the road to recovery. Once he gets completely healed, we’ll slowly introduce him to our other foxes, “Ringo” and “Starkey,” where he can live together with them in safety and peace.
Here’s an endearing story about Nova that you’ll love hearing… In his current enclosure close to where the keeper’s quarters are, Nova’s “ground” consists of wood chips, piled about 3 inches thick on top of concrete. Recently we saw him pushing his meat to the edge of the enclosure, and then pushing wood chips on top of the meat till it was completely covered. Nova then moved back from the mound concealing his meat, and pounced on it with vigor – just the way foxes in the wild pounce on mice moving underneath the snow in wintertime. Joyfully, his instincts are intact, and he was making dinner for himself the exact same way that wild foxes do!
Nova’s story is a perfect example of why everyone at The Wild Animal Sanctuary loves their work…this little Fox has had so many hardships in his life, and yet he remains well socialized and resilient. It is truly our great joy to be able to give him – at long last – the kind of life he deserves with others of his own kind.
“Tajah” and “Meeka” – Tigers, rescued 9/09. Confiscated from a man who kept this mother and daughter illegally in northern Minnesota, 8-year-old “Tajah” and her 9-month-old cub “Meeka” had been declawed on all four paws with bolt cutters by the owner. This was not the first time animals had been confiscated from this man for abusive treatment. When another man was interested in purchasing land in the area and heard a prospective neighbor had tigers, he turned the owner of the animals in after seeing the situation.
Tajah and Meeka were confiscated by the county animal control and taken to a holding facility until a place could be found who would take them. The Wild Animal Sanctuary was contacted about the two tigers, and we went immediately to rescue them and bring them back to a better life. Both tiger ladies are living in the main tiger roundhouse during their rehabilitation and transition period. They are at last getting a superb diet, and with all the TLC they’re getting, they are learning that they can trust humans again.
“Cancun Tigers” – These eight Tigers
If cats have nine lives, then eight Tigers in Cancun are at the end of theirs! The Tigers’ story began dismally, and has gotten worse since Hurricane Wilma raced across the Yucatan four summers ago.
Pepe’s Restaurant in Cancun featured exotic animals like Tigers and Jaguars displayed in concrete and steel cages where diners could view them. Then Wilma hit and Cancun – and Pepe’s – was decimated. Some of the animals perished, some escaped, and some were found just barely alive in rickety jail-like cells.
After the storm, Pepe returned, but had no money to rebuild, nor care for the animals. He allowed them to sit in their decaying environment. Since 2005, the Tigers have barely survived, drinking stagnant water, and eating small amounts of food Pepe provides.
Medical care? There is none! The declining health of the animals is compounded by obvious neglect. One Tiger moves by dragging her rear legs behind her, often sitting in her own feces and urine.
Since fall of 2008, The Wild Animal Sanctuary has worked with Last Chance for Animals (CA) and Gente por la Defensa Animal (Mexico), to secure the Tigers’ release.
TWAS and its animal welfare partners worked with the Mexican government to rescue and relocate the Tigers to their 320-acre facility in Colorado, where they’ll receive exceptional diets, loving rehabilitation, spacious living habitats, and the urgent medical care they need. Mexican officials recently revoked Pepe’s permits and determined the rescue date in early September. TWAS and its partners put the logistics in motion to rescue the animals, including hiring a cargo jet to transport them back to Colorado.
On September 3rd, 2009, however, Mexican officials aborted the rescue. Now the Tigers are in even more danger – Pepe could move them, kill them, or leave them alone to die a slow, agonizing death!
TWAS, LCA and GEPDA immediately mounted a campaign to convince the Mexican government to reinstate the rescue, asking people to contact US and Mexican Officials to bring swift resolution to the desperate plight of the Cancun Tigers. The web site containing the Cancun Tigers’ story, and whom to contact to encourage the rescue to continue is: www.SaveTheCancunTigers.com.
On Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, officials from the Mexican Wildlife Department (PROFEPA) met with representatives from Gente Por la Defensa Animal (GEPDA), Last Chance for Animals (LCA) and The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) to discuss the current status of the rescue mission to save the Tigers in Cancun. PROFEPA stated that they had received a significant amount of input from the public – both in Mexico and in the US – concerning their sudden cancellation of the rescue mission. They wanted to explain the reason behind their withdrawal.
Officials stated they were concerned that the animals’ owner may try to get an injunction to stop the rescue, or that he would being other legal actions to repeal the revocation of his wildlife permits, or that even possibly request the court to give him time to improve the conditions of his facility. With these issues in mind, officials decided to drastically alter the original rescue plan. Their current proposal is to remove the animals from Cancun and transport them to temporary holding facilities near Mexico City, where they would be kept until such time that all legal proceedings have been concluded. They feel this plan would avoid prematurely moving the Tigers to the United States.
Representatives from GEPDA, LCA and TWAS expressed great concern over the revised plan, as the animals will have to be rescued regardless, and opting to transport the animals half way across Mexico in rental trucks would put the animals at great risk of injury, illness, trauma or distress. And holding them in temporary cages for many months, in multiple facilities around Mexico City, while court cases drag on would only compound their suffering.
The representatives added that the animals would be far better served if officials would go back to the original rescue plan. Doing so would allow the animals to be immediately rescued and transported to their final home (The Wild Animal Sanctuary) without being subjected to arduous road trips (they would be flown by Jet Aircraft to Colorado), and would save the animals from spending months – or possibly years – in temporary cages that would likely not be any better than the ones they currently live in. The meeting ended with PROFEPA rejecting GEPDA, LCA & TWAS’ request to reinstate the original humane rescue paln, which was a great disappointment. PROFEPA’s disregard for the ultimate welfare of the animals was clearly visible, as their new plan was noticeably driven by their desire to minimally satisfy the public’s demand to help – while lessening the burden on their department.
As long as the eight Tigers remain in Mexico – in their Cancun cages or holding facilities in Mexico City – we will continue to work for their release and rescue to TWAS in Colorado. Remember to add your voice to the chorus of caring people who want to free these animals – go to: www.SaveTheCancunTigers.com.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary loves to communicate with each and every supporter we have - as well as educate thousands of new people every year. One of the feature items we utilize is the "Sanctuary News" - which is a wonderful full-color magazine that reaches more than 52,000 people every three months.
The Sanctuary News has lots of interesting stories about recent rescues... Animal Rehabilitation updates... and other major events going on at the Sanctuary all year long. We invite you to subscribe for a free copy by submitting the form below. Thank you!
You might be surprised how fast the little things add up…and you might be even more surprised just what we can accomplish for the animals when supporters bring or arrange for any of the following Wish List items.
If you’re coming for a visit in early fall, for example, bringing bags of apples or pumpkins for the bears is a simple thing that helps a lot. For bigger things, such as building supplies that have to be hauled, please call to make arrangements to deliver or be picked up.
And if you’ve got something you think we might be able to use that’s not on this list, just give us a call, 303-536-0118. We can usually find a way to use it, and save money that we can put toward other expenses.
Bear Food (from April – October)
- Apples, Pears, Plums, Carrots (in bags)
- Berries (any kind), Grapes, Cherries
- Melons (any kind)
- Vegetables – except artichokes & potatoes
- Dog Food – dry, high quality, large bags
- Cat Food – dry, high quality
Wolves & Small Cats
- Frozen Turkey & Chicken parts - or whole bird
Office & Volunteer Program
- Copy paper, scotch tape, packing tape/dispensers, sticky notes
- Paper towels
- Paper plates
- Plastic ware
- Laundry Detergent – both normal, and “HE” (high efficiency) are needed
- Contractor Plastic Garbage Bags – 42 gallon ONLY (found at Home Depot)
- Bottled Water (by the case)
- Fire Hoses (all sizes), Nozzles
- Pool Chlorine
- Rubbermaid Tubs/Lids – 18 gallon
- Trees (cottonwoods), evergreens, shrubs
- Tree Trunks & Stumps (extremely large, for habitats and play areas)
- Wood chips for landscaping
- Concrete (bagged or by truck)Concrete & Steel Culverts (all sizes)
- Deck Stain
- Dog Kennel Panels & Doors (Solid 2" X 4" wire type)
- Lumber (2x4’s; 4x4’s)
- Painting Materials (brushes, rollers, pans)
- Steel (all sizes and shapes)
- Telephone Poles
Are you ready for a wonderful evening full of good food, good friends and edifying entertainment?
Then mark your calendar and plan on attending the Sanctuary’s yearly fundraising extravaganza called “Summer Safari."
This year’s Summer Safari will be held at the new Bolivian Lion Complex, and will include a wonderful buffet dinner that will be followed by a stimulating presentation about The Wild Animal Sanctuary by our Founder and Director, Pat Craig.
In order to keep this event intimate, tickets sales are limited to 75 people per event - with six dates available (June 9th, June 23rd, July 7th, July 21st, August 4th sold out & August 18th sold out).
To purchase tickets please go to our online store and select the ticket date you wish to attend on.
$100 Price of ticket includes buffet dinner with special presentation by Executive Director, Pat Craig, along with a tour and Q&A session in the new Bolivian Lion House.
King Arthur: USDA-Enforced Zoo Closure--- King Arthur was the lone African Lion in one of 18 animals facing an uncertain future when a Nebraska zoo was shut down by the USDA due to animal abuse and safety violations. Undernourished and underweight, Arthur was doing his best to survive the cold Nebraska winters. Now living life “fit for a king” at TWAS, King Arthur enjoys being with other lions in the habitat, and gives an occasional friendly “aooowwww” to the humans on the observation deck 30 feet above him.
Kobu: G.E.P.D.A. and Mexican Government Confiscation— Kobu was discovered being kept in a concrete pit in Mexico. He was originally bought as a pet, but when he became too big and expensive to care for his owner dumped him at a monastery where he was put into the concrete cell. His new caretakers also decided he was too expensive to feed – so they began feeding him live dogs taken off the streets of Mexico City. Working with Mexican Government officials, we rescued Kobu and brought him back to TWAS. He now lives with a pride of lions that lives in one of the Sanctuary’s large acreage habitats.
Cana & Dian: Canadian Fish & Wildlife Confiscation - Male African Lion, Cana (pronounced Cane) , and his brother Dian (pronounced Dee-on), were confiscated from a drug dealer by Canadian Wildlife Officials when they were only 6 weeks old. They were subsequently rescued, and brought to the Sanctuary where they could be raised with lots of love and eventually join one of the prides living in open habitats at the Sanctuary.
Mara: Private Forfeiture—Mara was used in the film industry in California. However when she reached roughly the age of two Mara chose to stop cooperating with her trainers—and so she discarded. She now enjoys her time in one of the Sanctuary’s many large acreage habitats.
Shane: CA Fish & Game Confiscation—Shane came from “Tiger Rescue” in Colton, CA, when it was shut down in 2003. More than 150 starving, dehydrated great cats had to be rescued from that facility! Shane is a young Barbary Lion, whose beautiful black mane runs all the way down his belly.
Masai: CA Fish & Game Confiscation—For every animal actor who works successfully with people, 20-30 animals are bred that don’t make it. Masai was one of those, coming from a business in California that uses animals for films until they won’t work anymore—then forgets them—as if they never existed. Masai now rules over his very own pride!
Elsa, Yuma & Gala: Mexican Circus Surrender - When contacted to take Lions living in desperate conditions in a circus in Mexico, The Wild Animal Sanctuary had no idea the two Lions would turn into three! Elsa and Yuma’s nearly dead cub, Gala, was found lifeless in the tiny cage in which they lived. But Gala did survive, and the intensive paperwork was begun to bring the Lions back to Colorado. Elsa and Yuma are now getting to know the other Lions and enjoying life in their own spacious habitat, and fast-growing cub Gala is being lavished with the best care that the humans and Sanctuary dogs (great Lion cub babysitters!) can give her. When she is big enough, she’ll join the pride in the Lion habitat.
Lacie, Tabitha & Sampson: Private Owner Surrender – These three African lions were rescued by the Sanctuary after the mother (Lacie) and an adult male were discovered living in a horse trailer in Ohio. The adult male lion and Lacie (an adult female) had been kept in the horse trailer for years, and their owner had not prevented them from breeding – so Lacie gave birth to 3 cubs while still living in the horse trailer. An Ohio animal welfare agency stepped in at this point to move the lions into an outside cage in order to help protect the cubs, but the adult male, and one of the cubs ended up dying anyway – so the Sanctuary came to rescue the remaining three (Lacie, Tabitha & Sampson).
Ike: Private Forfeiture - Ike was purchased for $450 at an exotic animal auction house when he was just a few week old cub. The couple who purchased him soon found that he outgrew living in their house in just a matter of weeks, and decided to put him in a shed in their back yard. It wasn’t long before Ike was even too large for the shed, and that’s when the couple called TWAS to come rescue Ike. He was entered into the Sanctuary’s rehabilitation program, and now lives freely within one of the African Lion Prides at the Sanctuary.
BOLIVIAN LIONS - Bam Bam, Morena, Marta, Maria, Rosa, Rosita, Rosario, Campeon, Colo Colo, Muneca, Lulu, Hercules, Panchula, Fida, Kiara, Percy, Bob, Nancy, Pancho, Temuco, Kenya, Chitara, Dalila, Kimba & India - These 25 Lions were confiscated by Bolivian authorities after a nation-wide ban on using animals in circus performances was enacted - and 8 circuses refused to comply. The Lions were flown to the United States so they could live out their lives in freedom at the Sanctuary. They all now live in 80 acres worth of large acreage habitats at the Sanctuary in four separate prides.
PANAMANIAN LIONS – Kaitlyn, Elena & Alyssa – These three African Lion sisters were rescued from a rundown fairground in the small town of Chorrera outside of Panama City. They spent their entire lives being neglected and abused and were kept in a tiny 5x8 foot steel and concrete cage. Now at TWAS, they are all are getting healthier every day and will one day roam freely on a large acreage habitat.
Subira - Canadian Wildlife Government Confiscation - Subira is a female African Lion who was purchased by a 17 year old girl as a pet at an exotic animal auction in Canada. The young girl soon found out that Lions do not make a good pet so Subira was confiscated by authorities and was brought to a wildlife rehabilitation center in Ontario, Canada. Unfortunately Subira sat at this facility for 12 years by herself with nothing being done to help her get to a more appropriate place. Finally new management came into the rehab center and quickly realized Subira needed a better life with other Lions so they contacted TWAS. Now at TWAS, Subira is seeing and listening to other Lions for the first time in her life and will one day join a pride in a large acreage habitat where she will roam freely for the rest of her life.
Aslyn: Private Surrender -- Given to a couple as a wedding gift, Aslyn went from being a “pet” to a liability when the couple’s first baby was born and the Serval became jealous. Surrendered to The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Aslyn now resides in a large enclosure adjacent to two other Servals. She has a cozy heated condo for winter, and lots of space to jump and lounge around on platforms of varying heights.
Diva: Private Surrender—Diva is a female African Serval that was being kept as a “pet” in a New York apartment. Her teeth have been filed down, and her claws removed, in an attempt to make her less dangerous. Even with these “modifications,” her owners quickly realized that she did not make a good “pet” and sought out TWAS as a home for her.
Jules: Private Surrender—Jules is a male African Serval that was someone’s “pet” in California. But like so many other Servals, he started to become temperamental with his owners, and began marking his territory, profusely. His owner relinquished him to a sanctuary in Arizona but they were unable to keep him, and so TWAS gladly took him in.
Gizzy: Idaho State Court Ordered Surrender- Gizzy was being kept by an exotic animal breeder in the State of Idaho. She, and many other Tigers were kept and moved from county to county by a man that was avoiding new regulations that were being put in place to stop him and other people from breeding and selling exotic animals as pets. Finally, state authorities stepped in and obtained a court order shutting down the operation. Gizzy now lives freely at the Sanctuary, and enjoys the company of other rescued Servals.
Ashley, Becca, Shelley, Rosie, Teddy: USDA Confiscation, Ohio - When a breeding compound in Ohio was shut down for more than 900 counts of animal abuse, the USDA contacted The Wild Animal Sanctuary to take seven Black Bears in a covert operation. Ranging in age from several years to 25, Ashley, Becca, Shelley, Puja, Rosie and Teddy lived in horrendous conditions before coming to live at the Sanctuary in Colorado. Now enjoying a 15-acre habitat complete with cozy underground dens, play structures and swimming tanks, these lucky Bears have all but forgotten their enforced hibernation in tiny concrete boxes and the miserable 30x30 cage they all lived in prior to being rescued.
Cupcake: – County Animal Control Confiscation -- This beautiful Black Bear cub was found tied by her neck to a front porch outside Dayton, Ohio. When county authorities confiscated her due to animal abuse by her owner, they contacted The Wild Animal Sanctuary to come pick her up. Cupcake now enjoys life as a Bear was meant to – living and playing in a large open space in our west Black Bear habitat.
Little Bear: Private Forfeiture -- This young female black bear was being kept with numerous other animals on a farm in Iowa. When the State passed new laws requiring liability insurance for exotic animals, her owners no longer wanted to keep her - or the other animals - so they called the sanctuary to come rescue her.
Ellie Mae, Anthony & Sammy: Michigan SPCA Closure - These Bears found themselves in a tight situation when the SPCA where they were living at was shut down, and winter was fast approaching. They all had been orphaned in a tragic turn of events in California – and was somehow shipped to Michigan to live. TWAS was called in to save all three bears and get them to Colorado in time to get settled in for their long winter hibernation. The trio will now be able to wake in the spring and find they can roam freely in one of our large acreage natural habitats.
Blondie: California Fish & Game Confiscation - Blondie was found in the unfinished basement of a house in California as a young Bear. She was either someone’s pet that got loose or was an orphaned wild Bear cub that had found its way into the house – but in either case, she desperately needed a home where she could grow and be with other Bears. The Sanctuary agreed to rescue her and provide her with a wonderful place to love.
Cindy: Private Forfeiture – Cindy was rescued from a fur farm in Minnesota where animals were raised and killed for their hides. Cindy was one of the lucky animals that lived long enough to be rescued when the facility owner died of cancer.
Buster: Kansas Humane Society Confiscation— Buster, a young Black Bear, was sold at an exotic animal auction to a couple intending to keeping him as a “pet.” The couple soon realized that bears are not pets and sold him. He was passed around from person to person, until finally he came to The Wild Animal Sanctuary—now he will never be passed around again! He will stay with us for the rest of his life—potentially 40 years!
Chocolate, Heather, Hercules, Hillbilly, Megan, Smokey, Winnie: – Roadside Attraction Surrender-- When the owner of a roadside attraction passed away, his family no longer wanted to keep the animals. Chocolate, Heather, Hercules, Hillbilly, Megan, Smokey and Winnie were living together in a 30x50 enclosure before being rescued by The Wild Animal Sanctuary, but now they’re enjoying the kind of life they really deserve in their 15-acre habitat.
Bonnie & Clyde: USDA Assisted, Louisiana State Park Surplus— Bonnie & Clyde lived in a Louisiana State Park Attraction that featured animals from the swamps of Louisiana. The State cut the funding for the park, so the captive animals there needed to be rescued - as they could not be released into the wild since they born in captivity, and would associate food with humans.
Bo & Panda: Private Forfeiture— Bo and Panda were kept in concrete and steel cages at a Taxidermy shop in South Carolina by a man that had decided it was a good way to make money (by raising animals to kill and mount). The man died, and his family didn’t want to keep the bears anymore - so they decided they kill them - but a nearby zookeeper stepped in to save them by calling us. We immediately drove to South Carolina to rescue Bo & Panda, as well as two Grizzly Bears they had there.
Baloo: Georgia Fish & Game—Baloo was part of a Georgia roadside attraction that was shut down by authorities. He was trapped from the wild as a cub by poachers, and had his claws ripped out with pliers. As one of the biggest Black Bears at TWAS (he weighs over 800 lbs.), his enormous size helps make up for not having any claws!
Ben: USDA Confiscation—Ben was kept in a small cage in a remote area in Wisconsin, by a back-woods miner, before being rescued by TWAS. Good food, a better climate, and of course, good company, have given Ben a much better life!
Thelma & Louise: USDA Confiscation—Unlike the ladies in the movie, these two female Black Bears made it out alive—but just barely! While sleeping the winter away, their owner sold his property and told the new residents he’d come back when they woke up in the spring, and shoot the Bears. The new residents contacted the USDA and TWAS for a Bear rescue.
Ethel, Fred & Lucy: Ohio County Officials and USDA Confiscation—These Bears were rescued from Ohio, where they suffered great abuse by the person that kept them—until the facility was shut down by USDA and Wildlife Officials. They are now healthy and happy, romping through the Sanctuary’s Black Bear Habitat.
James, Ruff & Tuff: USDA Confiscation—These three bears came from a tourist attraction in North Carolina that was not designed to house Bears. Now at the Sanctuary they rumble and tumble with each other, and all the other Bears.
Jessie: Colorado Division of Wildlife Confiscation—Jessie was held illegally in an Evergreen basement. Her owners intended to use her for shopping mall photograph sessions. She was confiscated and brought to TWAS by the CO Division of Wildlife. She is now very glad to be living with other Bears!
Kroshka & Matilda: Circus Closure—These two Black Bears were part of a Russian circus act that closed when their owner died. They were so used to having to perform upright, that for the first month at TWAS they were bipedal (walking on their two hind legs), until they learned they were meant to walk on all four legs!
Ben II: Private Forfeiture—Ben was being kept in a corn crib, converted into a cage, as a pet in Iowa. When the state insurance requirements increased on Ben the owners no longer wanted him. Ben now lives in a large acreage habitat with lots of other bears!
Magic: USDA Confiscation—Magic came from a photography studio where the owner would use him in photographs with clients. His owner decided it was not a lucrative enough business and therefore no longer wanted Magic. He was rescued by TWAS where he will always be wanted.
Rusty: California Fish & Game Confiscation—California Fish & Game contacted TWAS about a “nuisance” Bear (Rusty), who wouldn’t run away from people when they approached him. Wildlife officials believed that someone had raised him as a pet and when he got to be too much to handle, released him into the wild…but it turned out Rusty was just sick—which explained his calm behavior. After he recovered in the care of the CA Fish & Game, they didn’t want to release him back into the wild and so Rusty came to be a part of the TWAS family.
Magnum, Cherokee, Princess, Lakota: Private Surrender - All four Black Bears were rescued from a small property in Dayton, Ohio after their owner died suddenly. The Bears spent 20+ years of their lives living in tiny horse stalls with concrete floors. They were also declawed and had their teeth filed down because they were trained to perform tricks and wrestle people at local fairs. Now at TWAS, the Bears do not have to perform or wrestle another day and they just get to enjoy being a Bear in a large acreage habitat.
Smokey: USDA Confiscation—Smokey was living in neglect, illegally kept in South Dakota. She was confiscated and taken to an Animal Shelter, where she was housed for 8 months in a wooden 4 foot by 8 foot crate with only a small opening on the top. Now she has plenty of room to roam in the Sanctuary’s ten acre Black Bear Habitat!
Alfalfa, Darla & Spanky: Contraceptive Failure—In 2004 the standard zoo contraceptive medications used on our Bears failed. As a result, many unplanned births occurred in zoos throughout the nation. Because TWAS does not support breeding of these animals, it was a great shock when these three bear cubs (along with Nadia the Grizzly) were born. To prevent this from happening again, all the male Bears were permanently fixed.
Bob: Private Forfeiture—This black bear was surrendered by an Indiana business that breeds and trains bears for the entertainment industry. Bob proved to be one of those animals who was untrainable, thus he was of no use to his owners and was slated to be put down. Bob now enjoys life with the other bears in a ten-acre habitat.
Tuvy, Pasha, George, George II, Arzo, Crombie, Pumpkin, Boo Boo, Ballou, Ben III, Baby, Gracie, Lady, Murphy, Benny, Newman, SPG: Texas Facility Closure – These were among 25 Bears that were rescued from a facility in Texas that was forced to close. The facility had no funding to feed or care for over 300 animals. With nowhere to go, TWAS was specifically called to rescue all of the Bears and give them a second chance. All of the Bears are now living together in a large acreage habitat and enjoying their new freedom.
Emily: USDA-Enforced Zoo Closure— This black bear was one of 18 animals facing an uncertain future when a Nebraska zoo was shut down by the USDA due to animal abuse and safety violations. Since Emily was rescued late in the year, we had to get her into a den so she could hibernate. Emily is now enjoying life with other bears in a spacious habitat complete with swimming tanks and play structures.
Buddy: Private Forfeiture—Buddy the black bear was kept as a pet by an individual in Texas who bought him from an exotic animal breeding compound in Missouri. When he got to be too much for his owner to care for, Jake was surrendered to The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Here, Buddy enjoys a bear’s life the way it’s supposed to be, with plenty of space to roam and play, and lots of food to eat.
Jake: Private Forfeiture—After being moved from place to place, this black bear wound up working for a living with Rare & Wild Presentations at the San Diego Zoo. As Jake got older and was unable to work, his trainer at Rare & Wild surrendered him to The Wild Animal Sanctuary, to keep him from being euthanized.
Sam & Ginger: Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources – When Sam & Ginger woke up in the spring, they found they weren’t even getting the basics – food and water – as their owner had been called to military duty, and had not made provisions for them. The Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources contacted TWAS to come get the bears out of their swampy enclosure. Now Sam & Ginger are enjoying the good life at TWAS – plenty of food, plenty of space in which to roam, and a dry, cozy den for winter.
Lilly: Illinois State Attorney Confiscation - Lilly is a young Black Bear that was confiscated from a man who bought her at an exotic animal auction and was trying to keep her as a pet. The State Attorney worked with the local animal control to seize the Bear and place her in a temporary holding facility until they could find a permanent home for her. The State Attorney office called TWAS right away because they knew she could have the best life possible here. Now at TWAS, Lilly lives in a large acreage habitat with other rescued Bears where she will live freely for the rest of her life.
Yogi: Private Forfeiture - Male Black Bear, Yogi, Was being kept as a “pet” by a family in rural Ohio. After two previous pet Bears died, and quite some time keeping Yogi in a barren wire corn-crib in their back yard… these people finally realized that trying to keep a Bear as a pet was not going to work out. TWAS rescued Yogi and brought him back to Colorado where he now happily lives and plays with lots of other rescued Bears.
Bobby: Nebraska Humane Society Confiscation—Bobby was rescued from a woman that was hoarding animals. When Bobby was rescued there were carcasses of road kill littering the property that the woman used to feed the animals. TWAS took Bobby in where he now has a healthy USDA approved zoo diet that he loves!
Peek-A-Boo: Michigan Human Society Confiscation—Peek-A-Boo was being kept as a pet in Michigan. It is illegal to keep bobcats as pets in Michigan and so Peek-A-Boo was confiscated and TWAS contacted to give her a loving home.
Sally: Colorado Division of Wildlife Confiscation—Sally was found running around a truck stop after being abandoned by her truck driver owner. Apparently she grew up in his truck, and traveled the country with him, when she got too large and destructive he threw her out. At TWAS she is respected as a wild animal and will never be abandoned again.
Sheena: Nashville Humane Society Confiscation—Sheena was found living in a warehouse. She was taken in by the Nashville Humane Society temporarily until she could come to a permanent home here at TWAS.
Rufus: Nebraska Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Forfeiture- After an extended stay at the rehabilitation facility Rufus became too dependent (imprinted) on his human caretakers – which would cause him to fail at staying away from people once released. Once it was discovered that Rufus was unable to be released into the wild, TWAS was contacted to give him a permanent and safe home. Rufus now enjoys the freedom and natural environment he deserves, as well as the company of our rescued Bobcat family.
Spirit: Private Forfeiture - Spirit had a long and winding path to reach the Sanctuary, as she had gone from one owner to another in the State of Idaho for nearly 20 years. Finally, after her last owner became ill, authorities did the right thing and contacted TWAS to rescue her and give her a proper home where she could retire and live in peace with other Bobcats.
Cisco & Morris: Washington State Humane Society– Cisco and Morris, as well as four other exotic cats were being kept and bred illegally by a couple in Washington State, so they could profit by selling their offspring as “pets”. Their plight came under scrutiny by a local Humane Society… and with help from their county prosecutor they were able to get a court order to confiscate the six cats. Getting the cats out of the illegal situation they were living in was only the beginning of their recovery… as they would need a permanent home that could provide the care and freedom they deserved. TWAS was contacted to help and now Cisco and Morris live happily in a large enclosure with other cats—enjoying the freedom and room to roam that they so aptly deserve.
Mitchell & Marcus: Washington State Humane Society- Mitchell and Marcus were born at TWAS shortly after their parents – Morris and Cisco - were rescued. Morris and Cisco were sent to TWAS after their owner was forced by Fish and Game officials to relinquish the animals. TWAS was informed that the female was reportedly spayed so we kept the pair together. However, it wasn’t long before we discovered that Cisco was pregnant. The entire Bobcat family lives happily in a large enclosure with other cats – enjoying the freedom and room to roam that they so aptly deserves. All of the males have been neutered now to prevent any future breeding.
Casper: Wyoming Humane Society Confiscation—Casper is a male Coati Mundi, far from what would be his native home in Central America. He was found running loose at the Casper, Wyoming airport. When no one came forth to claim him he was slated to be put down by the local humane society. TWAS came to the rescue, providing Casper with a loving home.
Sassy: Tennessee Humane Society Confiscation—Sassy was being kept as a pet in Tennessee. When her owners realized that wild animals do not make good pets, she was taken to the humane society. TWAS was contacted and took her in, giving her a permanent home.
Maurice: Private Surrender- Maurice is a male Coati-mundi and was found far from what would be his native home in Central America. He was discovered running around at a warehouse in downtown Denver and was probably being kept as someone’s pet and had gotten loose. The people who found Maurice called TWAS right away and we gladly took him. Maurice now lives freely at the Sanctuary, and enjoys the company of other rescued Coati-Mundis.
Jenny & Jami: Colorado Private Surrender - Jenny and Jami were kept at a private facility until such time that it became evident to their owners they needed special licensing to keep Coati Mundi. The Colorado Division Of Wildlife made sure the owners surrendered them to the Sanctuary so they could live with the Sanctuary’s thriving Coati Mundi troupe.
Emmy Lu: Private Surrender – Emmy Lu may have already had an unfortunate past when she was found running down the road by a Greeley resident. The Wild Animal Sanctuary agreed to take Emmy Lu, and now she is happy, well fed, and has plenty of room to trot around. Because Emus are herd-type animals, Emmy Lu is especially happy to be with other Emus the Sanctuary has rescued.
Mr. Quackenbush & Big Chicken: Private Forfeiture - These two Emu became too much for their Colorado owners to care for, so he contacted TWAS to give them a home. They are now enjoying life with our resident emus – Emmy Lu and Big Bird.
Big Bird: Private Surrender – Big Bird was rescued from a horse boarding facility in Colorado that was closing its doors. The owners of the horses being boarded there did not want Big Bird to be homeless, or worse, euthanized, so they raised the $3,000 required by the owner of the facility to “give” him to The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Big Bird is now enjoying life with the other resident Emus in a large acreage habitat.
Gaika & Masha: Circus Closure—These two Grizzly Bears were part of a Russian circus were they lived in a truck for 17 years. The circus closed when the owner/trainer died. When they arrived at TWAS, they suffered nicotine withdrawals, as that was what their trainer used (by getting them addicted) to train them—so they would be desperate enough to do tricks for him. They are now addiction free, and enjoy plenty of space to play.
Kelty: US Fish & Wildlife Confiscation—Kelty, the Grizzly Bear, was shipped to TWAS from a California facility. The stress he suffered at this facility, due to a poor environment, was so great that he would pound his head against his cage wall until he bled. With plenty of space at TWAS (acres), he is having the time of his life—with no stress! Kelty takes the prize of being the Sanctuary’s largest animal at 1,200 pounds!
Maye: USDA Confiscation—Maye came from a photography studio where the owner would use her in photographs with clients. Her owner decided it was not a lucrative enough business and therefore no longer wanted Maye. She was rescued by TWAS where she will always be wanted.
Nadia: Contraceptive Failure—Nadia was born after AZA contraceptive medications failed—leaving us no choice but to permanently fix Kelty so there would be no more accidental Grizzly Bear births.
Shaq and Lil’ Kim: Taxidermist Surrender-- Shaq and Lil’ Kim were a breeding pair of Grizzly Bears at a South Carolina taxidermist operation. When the owner died, the family did not want to continue the business, and had prepared to put the animals down. Someone in a neighboring state got involved, and called us to take the remaining animals to keep them from being put down. Shaq and Lil’ Kim escaped certain death when we rescued them and brought them back to live in “Bear luxury” at The Wild Animal Sanctuary.
Tanaka: Florida Fish & Game Confiscation – Grizzly Bear Tanaka (“Tank”) was kept by a private owner in southwest Florida for 15 years. When Florida required a bond for the owners of large exotics, the owner refused to pay it, so TWAS was called in to take the bear. Tank has adapted very well to his new environment – and old timer Kelty loves having a new boy Grizzly to pal around with.
Natasha, Borris & Tiny: Texas Facility Closure – Natasha, Borris & Tiny were among 25 Bears that were rescued from a facility in Texas that was forced to close. The owner of the facility ran away and left no funding to feed or care for over 300 animals. With nowhere to go, TWAS and other facilities were called to the rescue to give all of the animals a second chance. All three Bears are now living together in a large acreage and enjoying their new freedom at TWAS.
Chloe & Jake: CA Fish & Game and USDA Confiscation—Spotted Leopards, Chloe & Jake, came from “Tiger Rescue” in Colton, CA, when it was shut down in 2003. These two were found as infants in an air-conditioning duct where they were hidden by their owners from authorities. They were two of five Leopards rescued from the facility, by The Wild Animal Sanctuary.
Eddy: Born to USDA Confiscated Animals—Born to Sam and Gina, Eddy is a black Leopard that will never have to know the dreadful life his parents, Sam and Gina, endured, along with hundreds of other exotic animals at Colton, California’s infamous “Tiger Rescue” facility. When Gina arrived at TWAS she was already pregnant and soon came Eddy. Eddy leads a charmed life. He has lots of love from the humans and dogs he has grown up with, was the star of Animal Planet’s “Growing Up Black Leopard,” and plays with the other Leopards in their specially designed enclosure.
Lightning: Nebraska City Zoo Placement—Lightning is a spotted Leopard rescued from a city zoo closure in Nebraska. He has the distinction of being the mascot of the Langley School in McLean, VA. Each year, students help pay for Lightning’s care by recycling used printer cartridges.
Macayla: Private Forfeiture—This female black Leopard was being kept on a fur farm in Minnesota, where she was in a corncrib cage with a wooden dog house and no heater. Her owner was diagnosed with cancer, and decided to euthanize Macayla, along with the other exotic animals at the fur farm, because he didn’t want his family—or anyone else—to keep them. We were able to convince the man to let us rescue Macayla, along with others, on the day she was scheduled to be put to death.
Kanookie: Private Surrender--- When a Colorado resident realized that keeping a Lynx-hybrid wasn’t going to work out, The Wild Animal Sanctuary was contracted to take Knookie. A sometimes shy girl, Kanookie loves her new surroundings at TWAS, and enjoys playing hide and seek with Bobby, the Bobcat, her pen-mate.
Dmitri, Koschka, Maggie & Cherokee:Washington State Court Ordered Surrender-Dmitri, Koschka, Maggie & Cherokee were confiscated through a court order after state officials found a person breeding them to sell as pets. TWAS was contacted by a Humane Society that had been temporarily holding the cats, and agreed to give them a life-long loving home where they can live freely.
Viktor & Oleg: Born toWashington State Court Ordered Surrender animals - Viktor and Oleg were born at TWAS shortly after their parents – Koschka and Dmitri - were rescued. Koschka and Dmitri were sent to TWAS after their owner was forced by Fish and Game officials to relinquish the animals. TWAS was informed that the female was reportedly spayed so we kept the pair together. However, it wasn’t long before we discovered that Koschka was pregnant. The entire Lynx family lives happily in a large enclosure with other cats – enjoying the freedom and room to roam that they so aptly deserves. All of the males have been neutered now to prevent any future breeding.
Romeo: Montana Fish & Game Confiscation—Chained by the neck in a Montana man’s backyard, Romeo was confiscated and came to TWAS at just a year old. He is our biggest Mountain Lion, weighing 170 lbs., and has a wonderfully friendly disposition—thus his name, Romeo. He chirps (a Mountain Lions way of displaying affection) whenever spoken to.
Tascha & Thomas: Circus Closure—Thomas and Tascha are both Mountain Lions who were part of a small Virginia circus that closed down. They were given up by their owner, and were desperate for a place to live when TWAS stepped in to save them. Thomas has a beautiful black face that gives him a very unique look.
KC: USDA Confiscation—KC, the Mountain Lion, came from the “Tiger Ranch” facility in Alamosa, CO, where their owner walked off and abandoned 23 animals after realizing the expense and difficulty involved in caring for these animals. Now at TWAS he never has to worry about being abandoned again!
Liberty: Private Forfeiture—Liberty came from Iowa. She was kept as a “pet” and suffered from nutritional deficiencies—which caused her eyes to cross. She now is completely healthy and happy at the Sanctuary.
Major: Missouri Fish & Game Confiscation—Major was kept illegally as a pet in St. Louis. Officials sent him to a rehab facility until a suitable home could be found. When he came to TWAS he had no fur on his front legs or tail because of stress. Now at TWAS, all of his fur has grown back, and he is stress free!
Hobbs: Private Forfeiture—Hobbs is a Mountain Lion who lived in the garage of his private owners. When they decided to move, they no longer wanted Hobbs, and relinquished him to TWAS.
Sandy: Private Forfeiture—Sandy was owned by a Texas family who hit her on the side of the head with a baseball bat. She suffered skull fractures and damage to her right eye. After spending time at an Oklahoma Sanctuary, she was finally able to come to TWAS, where she now enjoys a good life.
Ozzy: USDA Confiscation— Ozzy, the Mountain Lion, came from the “Tiger Ranch” facility in Alamosa, CO, where their owner walked off and abandoned 23 animals after realizing the expense and difficulty involved in caring for these animals.
Ginger: Private Forfeiture—This Mountain Lion was being kept on a fur farm in Minnesota. Her owner was diagnosed with cancer, and decided to euthanize Ginger, along with the other exotic animals at the fur farm, because he didn’t want his family—or anyone else—to keep them. We were able to convince the man to let us rescue Ginger, along with others, on the day she was scheduled to be put to death.
Chaz: Private Forfeiture—When Iowa passed new insurance laws for owners of exotics, many people didn’t want to pay the increased premiums. This was the case with Chaz, a Mountain Lion kept on the back porch by his owners. Since we rescued him, Chaz is enjoying a much roomier place to live, a much improved diet, and lots of TLC.
Jake: Private Forfeiture –Jake the Raccoon was brought into Colorado by his owner, who didn’t realize he had to have a license to own him. When contacted to take him, TWAS was glad to give Jake a home. As Jake was raised inside a house, he is getting happily acclimated to his large outside enclosure (raccoons really prefer the outdoors) and he has a cozy dog house to snuggle up in when he chooses.
Ricky & Savannah: Oklahoma County Sheriff Confiscation—These Siberian Tigers were forced to live in a horse trailer in Oklahoma until they were 5 years old; when local authorities ordered the owner to give them up or have them shot. They arrived at TWAS filthy and malnourished, and terrified of the great outdoors (after living in a tiny metal box for so many years) . With plenty of mental and physical rehabilitation and nourishment, they soon grew strong, healthy and happy!
Diesel & Kamal: Baton Rouge SPCA Confiscation—As cubs, Diesel and Kamal were confiscated from a man who was living in his car with them. They were being kept in airline crates, inside the car, and the man was using them in a money-for-photo with baby tiger scam.
Athos: Born to Rescued Tiger—Athos was born shortly after his mother was rescued and brought to TWAS. He was raised in the office with Eddy, the black Leopard, since our enclosures are not designed for cubs. We do not breed and therefore do not have a nursery, so the few that are born here—to newly rescued animals—are usually hand raised.
Orion & Jevie: USDA-Enforced Zoo Closure— Orion & Jevie were 2 of 18 animals facing an uncertain future when a Nebraska zoo was shut down by the USDA due to animal abuse and safety violations. Used as a breeding pair of Tigers, both were undernourished and underweight, and the local vet didn’t think they’d last through another cold Nebraska winter. Though not scheduled for rescue by TWAS, we took the vet’s advice and brought them back home. They are now thriving on good food, a sheltered enclosure, and lots of TLC!
Honey & Irwin: USDA Confiscation—These two Tigers came from an El Paso Texas truck stop where they were a roadside attraction. They were allowed to breed at random, and their cubs were sold to motorists who stopped to get gas. They exchanged their small concrete cages in Texas for spacious indoor-outdoor enclosures at TWAS, plus time to roam and swim in the “Tiger Pool.” Now 24, Honey is the oldest Tiger at TWAS.
Jimmy: USDA Confiscation—Jimmy, a Siberian-Bengal Tiger, was rescued in June, 2004 from Kansas. He lived with other animals in such tiny dilapidated cages that another Tiger broke out of his pen and got into an adjacent cage, killing a Leopard. Called on by the USDA for help, TWAS rescued Jimmy along with other Tigers.
Hannibal & Missy: USDA Confiscation—Hannibal and Missy were confiscated by the USDA from a person who got them as cubs, and then couldn’t take care of them when they became too large. They were taken to Birmingham Zoo for temporary holding until they were able to come to TWAS.
Jack & Lilly: USDA Confiscation—Born to a Tiger from the “Tiger Ranch” facility in Alamosa, CO, these Siberian siblings enjoy napping together, using each other as “pillows.” Jack is one of the biggest cats at TWAS, weighing over 800 lbs.
Shir Khan II & Frida: USDA Confiscation (Circus) -- Tigers Frida and Shirr Khan were rescued from a Mexican circus touring the United States in June, 2008. The USDA stepped in to get them a good home after one of the other animals in the group of seven died, and Frida had been hurt by the other adult Tigers in the circus. Frida and Shirr Khan are getting along great, and will eventually be transitioned to a habitat once they become part of a larger group of Tigers.
Goldberg: Ohio County Officials and USDA—Siberian Tiger, Goldberg was rescued from Ohio, where he suffered great abuse by the person that kept him—until the facility was shut down by USDA and Wildlife Officials. Goldberg was terrified of people upon his arrival at TWAS because of the abuse and maltreatment he had endured in his former facility. He has responded amazingly well to the love he gets at his new home in Colorado.
Selena: Washington County Officials Confiscation—This female Tiger was raised as a “pet” by a woman in the State of Washington. Local authorities passed ordinances prohibiting the ownership of dangerous animals after neighbors began complaining about caging and safety issues.
Tigger II: USDA Confiscation— Tigger II came from the “Tiger Ranch” facility in Alamosa, CO, where their owner walked off and abandoned 23 animals after realizing the expense and difficulty involved in caring for these animals. Siberian Tiger, Tigger II, is one of our larger tigers weighing over 850 lbs.
Tony: Houston SPCA and USDA Confiscation— As a result of new laws against owning Tigers as “pets”—Texas breeders began to abandon their animals because they could no longer make money from them. Tony was rescued from that dismal existence of living in a concrete and steel cage buried in the backwoods of Texas. He now has plenty of space and respect at TWAS. Azacar & Ssadab: Sanctuary Closure—These Siberian Tigers came from a Texas Sanctuary that could no longer stay open. The sanctuary was unable to meet its necessary budget to care for their animals. TWAS took most of their big cats.
Shela: Big Game Hunting Ranch Rescue—Shela was rescued from a Big Game Ranch in Minnesota by a woman who couldn’t bear to see her possibly hunted. She arrived with large fluid sacs on her elbows, as she had been kept in a tiny concrete and steel cage—which caused extreme joint irritation. Her elbows have now recovered after lots of TLC at TWAS!
Katy: USDA Confiscation—Katy is a Siberian Tiger, weighing 550 lbs. When just a tiny cub, she desperately needed a home, because the facility where she was born kept breeding animals even though they had no room for new ones. TWAS provided her that home and nicknamed her “Katydid,” as in “Katy did it!”
Alfred: Houston SPCA and USDA Confiscation— As a result of new laws against owning Tigers as “pets”—Texas breeders began to abandon their animals because they could no longer make money from them. Alfred was rescued from that dismal existence of living in concrete and steel cages. When Alfred first arrived at TWAS he was unable to walk because his elbows had formed enormous fluid sacs to cushion the joints. After plenty of TLC at TWAS, Alfred now walks again!
Halloween : Houston SPCA and USDA Confiscation—As a result of new laws against owning Tigers as “pets”—Texas breeders began to abandon their animals because they could no longer make money from them. Siberian Tiger, Halloween, was rescued from that dismal existence of living in concrete and steel cages. He is very friendly and very sweet now, and Halloween takes the prize of being the Sanctuary’s largest cat at 850 lbs!
Hamilton: North Texas Humane Society Confiscation—Hamilton was found being kept in a cage on the back porch of a lady’s house. The neighbors had called the Humane Society because of the tiger’s living conditions, as well as being afraid he would escape. It turned out to be a valid concern—as a few days after Hamilton was rescued—a tornado tore through the area and destroyed the lady’s house.
Simon, Simone & Sophie: Born to Rescued Tiger—Shortly after their mother was rescued and brought to TWAS, these three cubs were born, and were raised at the Sanctuary.
Angel, Anna, Bazooka, Cricket, Lamar, Leche, Lil’ Shada, Olga, Reggie, & Tyrone: CA Fish & Game and USDA Confiscation—These Tigers came from “Tiger Rescue” in Colton, CA, when it was shut down in 2003. Bred without regard for the welfare of parents or offspring…they were born in 2003, and brought to TWAS shortly after their birth. They are the lucky ones though, as authorities found 58 dead tiger cubs when they raided the facility.
Silly: Sanctuary Closure—This Siberian Tiger came from a Texas Sanctuary that could no longer stay open. The sanctuary was unable to meet its necessary budget to care for their animals, so TWAS stepped in to help and took most of their big cats.
T.J., Ivan & Tahoe: MN State & County Confiscation—These Tigers were seized from a man in Minnesota when one person was killed, and a second was severely injured, after he allowed visitors to go in the Tiger’s cage.
Alena (aka Daisy), Gary & Natalya (aka Jasmine): CA Fish & Game Confiscation— These Tigers came from “Tiger Rescue” in Colton, CA, when it was shut down in 2003. They were being kept in appalling conditions until authorities and TWAS stepped in. Now these Tigers enjoy a large acreage habitat!
Mary Jane: USDA Confiscation— This is one of seven tigers found crammed in tiny cages by the gas pumps at a truck stop in Texas. The owner thought that having tigers by the gas pumps would help sell gas… and he was also selling cubs that had been taken from their mothers to people when they went in to pay for their fuel!
Sierra: USDA Confiscation—Sierra was the “pet” of a Chicago gang member who had been convicted of animal abuse. She now lives a worry free life with 20 acres of land to play in.
Rajah, Simba, Nala, Mowgli & Kiara: Idaho State Court Ordered Surrender - These Tigers were being kept by an exotic animal breeder in the State of Idaho. They were kept and moved from county to county by a man that was avoiding new regulations that were being put in place to stop him and other people from breeding an selling exotic animals as pets. Finally, state authorities stepped in and obtained a court order shutting down the operation. All of the Tigers now live freely at the Sanctuary, and enjoy the company of other rescued Tigers.
Tajah & Meeka: Minnesota Law Enforcement Seizure - Tajah and her daughter Meeka were confiscated after being found with chains on their necks in the back yard of a house in Minnesota. The man keeping them had ignored the state’s law banning the ownership of tigers, and so authorities had to confiscate them and seek out a proper home for them. They contacted our Sanctuary and a rescue team immediately went to Minnesota to bring Tajah and Meeka to their new home.
Chase: Private Surrender - Chase was purchased by a couple who wanted a pet Tiger when he was only three days old. He lived alone in a small cage in the backyard of a house in Missouri for seven years. Now at TWAS, Chase is learning how to be a Tiger again and is making new friends with the other Tigers so he can one day roam freely on wild open spaces.
Lilly II: US Fish & Wildlife Confiscation - Lilly was confiscated after being found in the backyard of a house in Washington. The man keeping Lilly had ignored the state’s law banning the ownership of Tigers, and so authorities had to confiscate her and seek out a proper home for Lilly. They contacted TWAS and a rescue team immediately went to Washington to bring Lilly to her new home. She now lives the happy life of a Tiger, which is what she truly deserves!
Azacar: Sanctuary closure - Azacar is a Siberian Tiger that came from a Texas Sanctuary that could no longer stay open. Unfortunately, fundraising for all non-profits has been declining ever since the tragic events of 9/11. The sanctuary was unable to meet its necessary budget to care for their animals—they had seven Tigers and one African lion, along with many hoofed animals. The Wild Animal Sanctuary took in all of the large cats.
George, Brad, Bernie, Elliott, Matt, Jessica, Alyssa, Lilly, Olivia and Kim: USDA-Enforced Zoo Closure -- George, Brad, Bernie, Elliott, Matt (named for “Ocean’s 11” actors) and Jessica, Alyssa, Lilly, Olivia and Kim (famous Hollywood ladies) were among 18 animals facing an uncertain future when a Nebraska zoo was shut down by the USDA due to animal abuse and safety violations. This group of Timberwolves inherited the 5-acre East Wolf Habitat, and love running as a pack and howling back and forth with the North Wolf Habitat residents.
Arapahoe & Shoshone: Private Forfeiture—These two Arctic Wolves came from a husband and wife who were getting divorced. They decided the wolves could no longer be a part of their lives any longer. TWAS came to the rescue and has given them a permanent home.
Cheyenne: Private Forfeiture—Cheyenne was being kept with numerous other animals on a farm in Iowa. When the State passed new laws requiring liability insurance for exotic animals, her owners no longer wanted to keep her - or the other animals - so they called the sanctuary to come rescue her.
Hondo: Private Forfeiture—Hondo is a Timber Wolf that was being kept as a “pet” in an apartment. When Hondo’s owner became engaged to be married he decided not to keep Hondo and relinquished him to TWAS. No longer in an apartment, Hondo has plenty of room to play!
Maxine, Patty, and LaVerne: USDA-Enforced Zoo Closure--- Maxine, Patty and LaVerne (named for famous 1940’s singing group The Andrews Sisters) were among 18 animals facing an uncertain future when a Nebraska zoo was shut down by the USDA due to animal abuse and safety violations. Of the 13 Wolves rescued, these three were younger ones were paired with the current Wolf population, and got to go to a new Wolf habitat north of the main compound. They love having lots to eat and plenty of room to roam with their new Wolfpack.
Chinook, Zuni, Ouray, Seneca, Ute and Niwot: Born to Pregnant Wolf from USDA-Enforced Zoo Closure--- Imagine our surprise when 6 Wolf Cub puppies appeared six weeks after we rescued 13 Wolves from a USDA-Enforced zoo closure. All the male Wolves had been neutered the day we got home from the rescue, but unbeknownst to us, one of the females was already pregnant. Named after Native American Indian Tribes (and Arapaho Chief Niwot), the adorable cubs will live stay at TWAS for their entire lives, and know the best life captive Wolves can lead.