The Wild Animal Sanctuary
This is a beautiful place both spiritually and visually. The animals documented here are the lucky ones. This organization attempts to right the wrongs humanity has inflicted upon creatures who were unfortunate enough to be imprisoned by people breathtakingly ignorant of needs and requirements of a wild animal. The Wild Animal Sanctuary located in Colorado has a mission to save mistreated, abused, neglected or unwanted captive wild animals from all over the world and place them in a free, but contained safe environment. Many of these animals have never been out of a cage and most haven't even felt grass and earth beneath their paws. They have been caged within people's homes, backyards, basements and garages. Often they arrive malnourished and sick. They rescue these animals from the dark side of humanity's need to have a wild animal as a "pet". Here they are safe, well fed and can live out their lives in the best possible alternative to their native, natural environment. Being raised by humans precludes them from be released into the wild. It is important to keep in mind that this is a sanctuary and NOT a zoo. The facility is for the animals not for us. It is their home and we are privileged guests.
The sanctuary has two locations: one in Keenesburg with 789 acres of land and the other near Springfield, Colorado with a whopping 9864 acres. I visited the facility in Keenesburg that has a 1 1/2 mile elevated walkway that takes you safely and securely above the various fenced enclosures where you can see bears, tigers, lions, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, lynx, leopards and more! The walkway is about 25 feet above the ground and as you amble above them, you can observe the animals without impeding on their territory. As they explain at the visitor center - the animals do not feel threatened or agitated by people walking above them. Only at ground level would they be concerned with you - and you cannot access the enclosures from the ground. It is amazing how serene and at peace the animals seem. As you look at the images to follow, look at the eyes - they express this feeling much better than words.
I have chosen to be an annual "Active Supporter" which allows me to visit the facility in Keenesburg for the year with up to 5 guests. You can also visit and pay a daily per-person rate. For this and all information available, visit their website at https://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org. It is important to read the "Visiting Info" section on the website before you trek out there. Your visit will be better for it.
It is important to note that NO DOGS - INCLUDING SERVICE ANIMALS are allowed at the facility, including the parking lot. Dogs found left in cars in the parking lot will result in being asked to leave the premises. Don't take your pets or service animals here.
Smoking is also prohibited on the entire property - that includes the parking lot. The animals have an extreme sense of smell - as one would expect from an apex predator - and tobacco odor can agitate the animals.
The images that follow are from several visits made to the sanctuary in all seasons. Enjoy and please consider giving to this noble cause!