The Wild Animal Sanctuary, home to nearly 500 large carnivorous animals, is expanding its efforts to Southern Colorado.
Known for being one of the largest and only sanctuaries to rescue large habitat animals in the world, the Sanctuary wants to continue to give homes to animals that other places don’t want – larger animals, predators, carnivores, animals with big teeth, animals that other places may be hesitant to house let alone give a home for life.
The facility said it only rescues animals in crisis, animals that are neglected, abused, or illegally confiscated. Most of their cases come from the USDA or situations where law enforcement has to get involved.
The current sanctuary has been rescuing animals for 38 years, starting with just 160 acres, and growing to 789 acres over the years. But, after rescuing 39 tigers in December, the remaining land available has been spoken for.
The sanctuary said it wanted to purchase land around their current space. But, that site has become landlocked as oil is booming in Weld County and land owners are reluctant to give up their land.
Fortunately, the sanctuary announced the purchase of another space, land with plenty of natural amenities. The 9,004 acres of land is located 20 miles northwest of Springfield with "unlimited opportunities with that much acreage," said Kent Drotar, The Wild Animal Sanctuary Public Relations Director.
The current land in Keenesburg used to be farm land, very flat and with very little trees. The new space, called Wildlife Refuge, has thousands of acres of forested lands filled with trees, rocks, endless hills, water, valleys and more, amenities that animals need.
The 501c3 non-profit was able to purchase this land through generous donations and will build each habitat as the animals come in. The sanctuary said this will be built over decades, with possibilities for thousands of larger animals to find forever homes.
The space is not yet open to the public, as the first large habitat will take months to build.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary said the current facility in Keenseburg will stay open for the animals housed there now, and to care for older animals who may need more medical attention.
Drotar said bears will probably be the first animals housed at the Wildlife Refuge, as they are the easiest to rescue.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is home to long list of animals, leopards, foxes, jaguars, Kodiak bears, bobcats, lions, tigers, coyotes, black bears, Syrian bears, lynx and African serval, porcupines, wolves, alpacas, ostriches, Asiatic bears, grizzly bears and brown bears.
Drotar said the facility is looking forward to being part of the new community in Baca County and part of Las Animas County, as well as fulfilling its mission in rescuing large carnivorous animals in need.
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