Colorful Colorado and beyond…
The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado is a 700+ acres facility dedicated to saving wild animals from abuse or neglect. Earlier this year the Sanctuary rescued 25 Lions from Bolivia. These ex-circus Lions came to the Sanctuary malnourished and abused but are now beginning a new life in the grasslands of Colorado’s front-range.
When we arrived at the Sanctuary we were greeted by friendly staff full of information. We received a notebook with stories on the animals living in the Sanctuary. It is important to note that this is not a zoo. It is a rescue sanctuary. There are rules, lots of rules. (No running, jumping, screaming, yelling, etc.) These animals roam free in their space; they are not “put on display” like a zoo. That being said, I believe it’s better than a zoo.
The Sanctuary specializes in rescue of large carnivore species such as, African Lions, Black Bears, Bobcats, Camels, Coati Mundi, Coyote, Emu, Foxes, Grizzly Bears, Leopards, Lynx, Mountain Lions, Raccoon, Tigers, and Wolves.
What gets me is the people who think that these animals will make good pets. So many stories of these exotic animals that would have been killed because their owner could no longer afford to feed them or they got too large to care for. Like this story of a “beautiful Black Bear cub that was found tied by her neck to a front porch outside Dayton, Ohio.” Or the story of the Bobcat: “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.” Truth is really stranger than fiction!
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is located about 45 minutes from Denver in Keenesburg. I read an article in The Denver Post about the Sanctuary and were advise to go early in the day or late in the evening because the animals were more active. However, we arrived at about 5:30pm and many of the animals were just waking from a nap. The wolves were extremely active in their howls. But still, you will see more lion and tigers here than at a zoo from the observation walkway. We did observe a female lion trying to catch a rabbit who was hiding for his life under a pile of steel beams being used in the construction of the mile walkway. Don’t fear, she got tired of the hunt and gave up.
They are currently building “Mile into the Wild Walkway”, a mile long walkway above the free roaming exotic animals.
My advice: Skip the zoo and go here instead.