Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Wild Animal Sanctuary - A Haven of Hope

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Out on Colorado’s eastern plains, lions, tigers, bears and wolves roam majestically across the rolling prairie. Viewing the wonderful setting from high ground is like discovering a peaceable kingdom located in the North American Serengeti.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is an astonishing preserve that exists to rescue and provide a permanent home for wild animals that have been abused, abandoned, displaced or neglected. Most of the inhabitants were born in captivity and confiscated by law from people who tried to keep a large carnivore as a pet.

Because the refugees were confined to backyards, basements or garages, often in deplorable conditions, they can never be released into the wild again but this animal asylum is the next best thing. While visiting TWAS it becomes obvious that the animals’ welfare is the number one priority.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado is the largest carnivore shelter in the world. The magnificent menagerie houses over 500 creatures in 80 separate enclosures built across 789 acres of open grassland.

This remarkable refuge currently includes 70 African lions, 85 tigers, 156 black bears, 43 grizzly bears, 20 wolves, 12 mountain lions, 5 leopards and 2 jaguars. The complex also cares for coyotes, bobcats, lynx, fox, porcupines, raccoons, ostriches, emus and a camel.

What makes TWAS different from traditional zoological facilities is its unique viewing platforms. An elevated walkway spans over the enclosures and all visitors are confined to the special bridge, leaving the animals undisturbed.

Animals are naturally territorial so when a stranger encroaches on their land, they react instinctively by either attacking the intruder or running away. This instinctive reaction is known as “Fight or Flight”.

Animals at a regular zoo have neither option as they can’t engage aggressively or get away. The captives are stressed from being sandwiched between crowds of onlookers and the backs of their enclosures.

That anxiety causes the animals to behave in agitated and unnatural ways but TWAS was designed to alleviate that pressure. Carnivores don’t consider the sky to be territory therefore people on the elevated walkways are not considered a threat.

The animals certainly seem at ease despite the visitor's presence looming above. They’re so content that it’s fascinating to observe them while they eat, sleep and play.

All of the habitats have manmade, underground dens that provide shelter from inclement weather. Most of the tunnels go back 30 to 50 feet and maintain a stable temperature of 60 degrees year-round so the animals love them.

If you make the trek out to this remote preserve hoping to see multitudes of exotic animals up close, you’ll be disappointed. Many of the enclosures appear vacant because the creatures are so reclusive, preferring to disappear into the tall grass or deep caves.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary wasn’t created to cater to the curious public. The Wild Animal Sanctuary was conceived as a haven of hope for mistreated animals where they can recover and rehabilitate in peace and comfort for the rest of their lives.

Marble fox

Arctic fox

A North American Serengeti

African lion

Grizzly bear

A Peaceable Kingdom

The animals seem at ease

One of the Grizzly bear enclosures

Tiger

The largest carnivore shelter in the world

Timber wolf

Black bear

A place to recover and rehabilitate

An elevated walkway spans over the enclosures

The Eurasian collared-dove is a symbol of peace and hope

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