Thousands of wild animals used to roam free from the savannahs of Africa to the jungles of India and the forests of the Rockies. Unfortunately, magnificent beasts like lions, tigers, bears, and wolves are being removed from their natural habitats to be kept in captivity, often in substandard conditions. It is estimated that there are over 30,000 big carnivores in this condition in the United States alone, living in improper enclosures, being forced to perform for the public and subjected to all sorts of abuse. The only solution for these abused animals is to place them in a sanctuary and let them live unbothered for the rest of their lives.
One such place, founded in 1980, is the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center in Keenesburg, Weld County, north of Denver. The center is a non-profit organization, doing business under the name of the Wild Animal Sanctuary, whose stated mission is to rescue abused animals, to give them a proper habitat where they can live for the rest of their lives, and to educate the public about the crisis of wild animals being abused across the country.
The sanctuary stretches on over 320 acres of rolling grassland, with dozens of species-specific enclosures. More than 200 big cats, wolves and bears call the Wild Animal Sanctuary home, as well as a number of smaller species like raccoons, coati mundi, and emus. The majority of these beautiful animals have been saved from a lifetime of abuses, after being kept in horrendous conditions, like pets, roadside attraction and circus performers. Now they can enjoy a peaceful existence in a sanctuary where there needs come before the benefit of humans.
Without a doubt, the stars of the Wild Animal Sanctuary are the big cats. There are dozens of tigers roaming the outdoor enclosure, fitted with playgrounds, underground dens, and pools. In fact, tigers love swimming and playing in the water and the sight of a group of these majestic felines splashing around in a stream is truly amazing. A pride of African lions roams their 20-acre habitat, occasionally roaring towards their human visitors. Native carnivores are also present at the Wild Animal Sanctuary – there is a pack of wolves, dozens of black bears and grizzly bears, and a few mountain lions. All these animals enjoy excellent standards of living, with heated indoor shelters to help them make it through the winter, and large open land enclosures designed to emulate their wild habitats.
Visitors are allowed at the Wild Animal Sanctuary all around the year, except major holidays. Initially the sanctuary was closed to the public, but the decision was made to allow visitors, in order to obtain the funding required to keep this amazing facility open. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the sanctuary and see the beautiful creatures up-close. To allow them to get close to the big cats or bears, and still stay in perfect safety, the sanctuary is spanned by a unique system of overhanging catwalks.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado is considered to be America’s premiere wildlife sanctuary. Visit this amazing place to experience the amazing sensation of seeing up-close dozens of noble animals, and at the same time, to support the efforts to rescue them and give them a better life.