The Wild Animal Sanctuary specializes in rescuing carnivores that have been abused, abandoned, exploited or illegally kept in the United States and Mexico and caring for them on 720 acres near Keenesburg.
Visitors can observe the animals from a system of elevated cat-walks and observation platforms that also reduce the animals’ exposure to humans. There also is a 1,200-square-foot education center with presentations about the sanctuary’s animals and what sanctuary officials call the “captive wildlife crisis” from having 10,000 to 15,000 big cats in private hands, from cages in basements to roadside zoos.
The sanctuary, located 30 miles northeast of Denver, shelters nearly 300 large carnivores on rural, rolling grasslands. It is the largest sanctuary of its kind and one of the oldest of the 70 accredited wildlife sanctuaries in the United States.
The sanctuary has three tiger habitats, three wolf habitats, three black bear habitats, two grizzly bear habitats, six African lion habitats, a leopard habitat and a lynx habitat, ranging from five to 25 acres in size. The habitats have swimming ponds or seasonal lakes as well as underground dens where the temperature remains 60 degrees year-round.
There is a central building that houses as many as 60 animals and provides a year-round, temperature-controlled haven for the animals, as well as services ranging from food to veterinary care.
Sanctuary officials work closely with national, state and international law enforcement agencies to provide safe and humane wild animal rescue services and assist zoos and wildlife facilities that are experiencing overcrowded conditions.
The sanctuary provides short-term foster care for the animals while court action is pending and permanent guardianship after legal custody is obtained.
The sanctuary was established as a non-profit organization in 1980 by executive director Pat Craig.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
1946 County Road 53
Keenesburg, CO 80643