As a journalist, I seek out powerful narratives that allow us to reflect on our place in the world, and stories that offer us lessons on how to be better. When we visited Forest Animal Rescue, we'd never seen such a wide variety of creatures, each living through their own challenging, gut-wrenching experiences of trials gone by. But the passion and dedication put forth by Lisa and Kurt, providing these amazing animals with comfort and peace, has made this rescue the very definition of the word "sanctuary." You may search the world, far and wide, but you will not find more ethically sound, caring individuals to place your trust in and throw your support behind. Truly, what they're doing in Florida for animals everywhere deserves recognition and praise of the highest order -- but they're not ones for taking credit. So please, help them rise, as the animals will be the ones to benefit. You can count on Lisa and Kurt to stretch those dollars on their behalf in the most miraculous of ways.Surane WeerasingheFilmmaker, 1999 Productions.Master of Science, The Columbia School of Journalism
I am a veterinarian. I've known Lisa and Kurt for about a dozen years. I have shared so many good experiences with them at the sanctuary that I don't know where to begin. There is nobody more conscientious, dedicated, or capable than this couple to care for the many animals entrusted to their care after coming from bazaar, abnormal, or abusive situations. I think my most memorable experience was even the most recent project where they received four tigers and two bears from a sanctuary that had been shut down in Colorado. I agreed to be present for the arrival of those animals with the possible need for tranquilization and or sedation to transport and locate them to their new home. Because of the expert handling of those out animals on arrival and the nature of their facility, no tranquilization or sedation was necessary. As I watched them each get established to their new environment --- which is an outdoor spacious location and something completely different than anything they have ever known, it struck me that they (the animals) must have thought to themselves "we have died and gone to heaven". To see a bear or a tiger interact with tree limbs and leaves and bushes which they had never seen before makes me realize again what a phenomenal job this couple is doing in providing lifelong care for some very deserving animals. I can't recommend them or their organization any higher.
Barry Kellogg VMD
I have volunteered here for almost 4 years now and I love being a part of a group where the animals always come first. The animals are happy and well cared for. Their forever home is a peaceful place for them to just be themselves. Upgrades are always being done through donations so that the animals may have even better space to roam around in. This is a true sanctuary.
I have been volunteering at this rescue since July 2013. I see first hand the love and respect Lisa, Kurt, Moriah (the Animal Care Coordinator), and other volunteers have for all the animals at the rescue. The animals are loved and very well cared for. The rescue is building back up to what it was before it moved from South Florida but that takes a lot of time and donations. Everything donated here goes straight to the animals for their care and well being, this is truly a sanctuary you can be proud to be associated with. Please come out and volunteer with us or make any donation you can so that we can move forward on the improvements. I volunteer once a week or more if I can get off work and I find it to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and the best place to do it.
I've had the pleasure of knowing Kurt and Lisa for over 13 years now. I can honestly say that they are the real deal. Not only do they truly have a passion for what they do but they have the capability and the know how too. They are absolutely enriching the lives of the animals in their care and for those of us who get to help along the way too.
Lisa and Kurt give their all to ensure the animals in their care are happy and safe.
I was lucky enough to spend a month volunteering at Forest Animal Rescue and I have never witnessed such happy and content animals.
The enclosures are very very spacious and the animals live in peace and tranquility without a care in the world.
I hope to volunteer for the sanctuary again one day. It really is an amazing place.
I learnt so much during my time here and I feel I am a better person because of it.
The animals happiness is a credit to Lisa and Kurt.
After searching online for volunteer opportunities in America I was so glad I found Forest Animal Rescue (formally Peace River Rescue) It was very daunting for me, as I traveled from London to the USA alone to spend a month volunteering.
I soon realized that this was the best decision I had ever made. As soon as Kurt picked me up from the airport I was made to feel at home. The days are long and the work is tiring but every second is worth it, you really are making such a difference to every animal in Lisa and Kurt's care.
The animals are so happy and healthy, and have the chance to live out their remaining years in peace and safety with the best care possible. I loved how nothing was expected of the animals.
Your days are filled with food prep, cleaning the enclosures/ensuring all is safe for the animals, cleaning the food prep room, unpacking food, ensuring the fridges are clean and organized, keeping the intern areas clean and tidy, feeding the animals and any other jobs which may need doing. Be prepared for anything as there is always something to do!
Be aware that you are very secluded here, so do not expect to be going out in the evenings/days off unless another of the interns has a car. Bring some books, ipad etc to keep yourselves entertained in the evenings or just make the most of the peace and quite. To be honest, you'll be pretty tired by the end of the day so you'll appreciate having a nice shower and getting in to bed. If you want to see a bit more of Florida I'd suggest traveling around once your volunteer placement is over. Oh and bring plenty of suncream and insect repellant.
Lisa and Kurt have dedicated their entire lives to ensure every animal in their care is as happy as possible, they are an amazing example of how people can make a difference. They taught me so much during my time with them and I left feeling so grateful for being a part of their lives, even if it was only for a short while.
I absolutely fell in love with the sanctuary and was broken hearted when I had to leave after my 4 weeks. However, I returned a year later to volunteer again as I just couldn't keep away. I hope to return for a third time when money allows.
I made some great friends whilst volunteering here as well as memories I will keep forever.
I spent 3 amazing months helping Kurt and Lisa out with there brilliant efforts to make the lives of each and every animal they have special and loved they work is amazing and deserve so much credit for everything they do
We have known Kurt & Lisa for many years. When they first rescued all of the animals from the defunct Sarasota Zoo we were there. They spent the mortgage payment for their home on heaters for the Sarasota primates. Sorry guys, but I have to say this. They are not getting any younger, but they are much wiser. Over the years they have worked so very hard for the animals they have worn themselves ragged at times. Kurt has had more surgeries than anybody I know, but you just can't stop the man. If an animal needs him he will crawl to get the job done. Lisa is an awesome money manager. She has stretched dollars, and done without to be sure the animals have the best possible care. AWESOME PEOPLE-AWESOME SANCTUARY!
Forest animal rescue is a shining example of what a great sanctuary should be they not only rescue animals that people have thrown out as unwanted pets, dumped from failed zoos or discarded lab test experiments but they also educate people they could me into contact with to teach them how to respect nature. In over 20 years of being involved in conservation I have never come across people more dedicated than Kurt, Lisa and the team at Forest animal rescue.
We were looking for a responsible rescue organization for a film series. We found that and so much more. A truly passionate, compassionate team, who gives everything in their lives to taking care of the animals. We have gone with them on several rescues, then watched the mistreated animals that they saved flourish under their care. If you care that many exotic animals are mistreated and deserve better, this is a fantastic non-profit to support—with your time or contributions.
Kurt and Lisa are amazing - this sanctuary is a gem. Extremely dedicated people focusing on the health and welfare of animals. It's a wonderful place.