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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

International Exotic Feline Sanctuary Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Protection of Endangered Species, Wildlife Sanctuaries

Mission: Care for abused, abandoned and illegally obtained large cats and bears IEAS currently cares for 66 large cats and 10 bears IEAS also serves as an educational facility for visitors

Programs: Care for abused, abandoned, and illegally obtained large cats and bears. Ieas currently cares for 40 large cats, 3 coatis, 1 ring-tailed lemur and 30 bears. Ieas also serves as an educational facility for visitors.

Community Stories

329 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is absolutely incredible the love and care that goes to these rescued animals! I myself, occasionally volunteer at the sanctuary and it warms my heart to see the dedication that comes from the keepers and other volunteers. Every trip I, along with my family, take to IEAS is educational and heart warming.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Whenever I am in Texas, this is always a highlight of my trip! To hear the back story of these animals and see their change in quality of life since coming to the sanctuary is heartwarming to me. The staff makes great efforts to make sure they have the right nourishment, environment, medical care, and enrichment to keep them happy and healthy.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The care and hard work that goes into this facility is obvious. Very excited to see the wolves new habitat on my most recent visit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter is a keeper here and she absolutely loves it. They take amazing care of the animals, and the staff, including the interns, are like one big family. They have 4 of the greatest grizzly bears you've ever seen and you should totally come visit them! They are the cutest things ever and I would steal them if that wasn't illegal and a really bad idea for their well-being. But I digress. Seriously, IEAS is a wonderful facility and deserves all the praise and support in the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love it here! I have been an active member of their community for the past 2 years and I never cease to be amazed by the work they are doing for the animals. 15/10 will forever recommend.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This sanctuary is one of the best I've ever visited, and I've been to several. You can tell that everyone is there to do whatever needs to be done to give the animals the best lives possible. They are constantly making improvements to the habitats and the facility as a whole and it has been great to see them grow and flourish over the past several years.

Andrew F.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was a great learning experience. The zoo keeper was well informed and made the experience very enjoyable. I am glad there is a place like this that takes in exotic animals and treat them the best way they can. I just wish that more funding goes towards these kind of sanctuaries so that the animals can have the best living conditions imaginable. Overall I highly recommend visiting and experience everything they have to offer.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to visit a few times and I love seeing all of the animals. You can definitely tell that the animals are well cared for. Nahla the tiger is my favorite. She always seems to be having a good time, she especially seems to enjoy splashing people from her waterfall!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This sanctuary goes out of its way to make sure all of the animals are well taken care of and have the proper nourishment, medications, and enrichment. After hearing the back-stories of some of these beautiful animals and seeing where they are now I am grateful that places like this exist. I volunteered (did some dishes) a couple times and the staff really care about the well being of all the animals.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We had family in town and visited the Sanctuary. It was amazing!!! We learned so much. They do wonderful things for the animals here.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization is very passionate about helping animals and educating the public about the animals. This is an incredible place to visit, and you can tell the people there love the animals so much. Great place to take a child (ages 7+) to learn! They also have an awesome enrichment program so the animals live long, wonderful lives. Please visit or donate here.

Arianna D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We were eager to visit this place because my mom had just moved to Texas. Texas is known for its freedom to own wild animals, including big cats, bears, etc. We learned so much while we were here. This place also has some white-nosed coati mundis (little raccoon-like animals), a ring-tailed lemur, and a pack of grey wolves. The freedom to own these type of animals is not without consequence, as the average person is likely not equipped with the time, skill, or resources to handle these animals. This sanctuary has catered to everything these animals will need. They’re not put on display to please the public. It’s more like, we have the privilege to be invited into their space, and learn more about them if they feel comfortable. There are animals which are not part of the tour because they are not as comfortable with visitors and that is extremely respectable. This sanctuary is open to volunteers and interns.

They offer emotional enrichment for these animals, where they will have volunteers sit by enclosures to be present with these creatures and show that a human presence is not a negative thing. This has apparently helped rehabilitate so many of their animals, to the point where these animals have a positive reaction to humans.

This is an excellent organization that offers education to the public. You only have to be willing to learn.

Cameron G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It's a wonderful thing to see people care for animals in the way this facility does. The animals are treated so well and with such respect. I love visiting and seeing how kind the staff is both to animals and visitors alike. The animals really seem happy and it's obvious how much love the people who work there have for each animal. I always look forward to my visits! This place is truly incredible.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve had the opportunity to be an intern here for 3 months and it’s been such an incredible experience! IEAS provides exemplary care to their animals and it’s refreshing to work around people who genuinely love the animals they care for and are willing to do anything to keep them happy and healthy. The habitats are well built, spacious, and provide so much enrichment. The diets are top notch and creativity is put into different feeding routines and activities. The tours are an incredible way to get up close enough to see these animals while also respecting them from a safe distance. The animals are not asked to do anything or perform in any way and are instead allowed to simply live the way they want to with no stress. As a work environment, the staff are close knit and friendly, everyone is passionate about this work, and it’s a fun environment considering how difficult the work can be. Such a great experience that I’ll forever be grateful for!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I came to know about IEAS through Nahla, the young Bengal tiger found roaming the streets in Conroe, TX a few years ago. IAES took her in and I adopted her providing support when and where I can.

IEAS takes exceptional care of all the animals, never exploits them, and conforms to all regulations required of them. The staff has always been very friendly and will take all the time necessary to answer every question asked. I have toured the facility and highly recommend them as a premium animal sanctuary.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We've gone on a tour here a couple times and have enjoyed it both times. The animals are in nice habitats and are well taken care of. We will definitely go visit again.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is an exemplary facility. I was truly amazed by the wonderful job they do and by how much they care for their animals and put their needs first. When we were there on tour, one of the tigers was a tad irritated and instead of allowing our group to stand and gawk, the tour guide had us move on. That impressed me very much because it put the tiger’s needs first! The cleanliness was outstanding. I constantly talk about this with people I meet and recommend they visit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The animals appear very content with their habitat and are regularly enriched. The intern that took me around did a great job of explaining their background, habits and characteristics. I will be back.

Nancy C.1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege and pleasure to visit some 30+ times in the last 15 years. I am so impressed with their dedication to the quality of the life of each animal that is fortunate to be there. The staff and interns and volunteers have but ONE thing in mind: how can they help these animals have the best life they can. I have enjoyed bringing groupsand individuals to IEAS and introducing them to these wonderful creatures! Their personalities are evident and would not be possible if they didn't feel safe and loved by their humans! The standards followed and the education provided stand strong!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This place ROCKS! I have made multiple visits and will continue to support them. I love bringing someone new and watching them fall in line ve with the animals!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Man, if I were to intern at an animal sanctuary, I would pick this place! The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary's main priority is the animals. Their animals get the best food, care, and enrichment opportunities available. I especially love how every donation goes straight to the animals, not the staff, which should be true of every animal sanctuary. Their tours are also top-notch.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an intern I've learned so much from this sanctuary! We work very hard to keep these animals their happiest and you can really tell when they behave exactly as they would in the wild. Very friendly staff and fun guests!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am in intern here for the summer, and this internship is hands down the best experience I could possibly ask for. The animals here are so loved and well cared for, and I am learning more than I could have ever imagined. It is a great learning environment, and I am getting amazing hands on experience. They hold their facility to such high standards, and they never compromise when it comes to the health and happiness of their animals. I am beyond excited to be here, and I'll be extremely sad when I leave.

Donor

Rating: 5

I visited this sanctuary with family for the guided tour and had a wonderful time. The staff was pleasant and knowledgeable, the tour was done at a leisurely pace with plenty of time to see the animals and learn about them.

The animals themselves were beautiful and in good spirits throughout the tour. We saw black bears play fighting, big cats lounging, and multiple exposed bellies. Wonderful place and strongly recommended, thank you for the memories and happy to donate!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered there yesterday with a group of co-workers. The staff was super knowledgeable and friendly. The animals are happy and well cared for, and the tour they offer is awesome and very educational. I will definitely go back with my family to do the tour again. Amy M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer here since April and I absolutely love it! I wish I lived closer to be there more often. The interns and keepers keep it running smoothly and I love introducing my friends to this place. The animals all seem very happy and well taken care of. I love learning new things and seeing the animals personalities. They make sure the animals aren't forced into anything they don't want to do and have great safety procedures to keep everyone safe. I'm so thankful to help out and be a part of this amazing place!!

Kristi Montgomery K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son and I have been volunteering at IEAS for over a year now. What a great experience! We LOVE the staff and the animals. These people work incredibly hard to care for these animals and give them a better life than the one they came from.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love coming out and getting to see all of the animals! I love the fact the animals come first at this facility. It makes it a great place to go.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an intern at the sanctuary and all of the staff are completely dedicated to giving the animals a real home where they can spend their remaining years. Everyone works extremely hard to make the sanctuary a great place for the current residents and visitng tour guests. The intern program is great for anyone wishing to learn a lot about animal husbandry.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with this facility has been a great experience. Very helpful in my pursuit to further my experience in this field. The animals are well taken care of and given the full respect that they deserve. I recommend everyone to check them out or even volunteer.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've been an intern at IEAS for just under 3 months now. On our tours we talk about the difference between being an certified facility vs being an accredited facility. Here at IEAS we are certified by the AZA which means that upon taking a tour, you may not have the most luck always seeing an animal. While that may sound negative, it's actually one of my favorite aspects of working at IEAS. We want to give every single animal the option of not showing themselves to a tour group. We want to encourage natural, Instinctual behavior. These animals have already been denied their basic right to live and survive in the wild, so while they carry out their lives here, we want to make it as comfortable as possible. Even if that means they want their privacy today more than they want me to get a cool picture. Highly recommend for anyone who may be curious about conservation or exotic animals in general to swing on by for a tour the next time you're in North Texas!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In my time as an intern at IEAS, I have seen an incredible amount of dedication from the keepers and volunteers. The love everyone has for the animals is palpable, and each animal gets individual care based on their personality and needs. I have learned more than I could have ever expected in my time here in every aspect of animal husbandry, from diet to enrichment to safety measures and everything in between. These animals have an amazing home and support system, and are being cared for by people who will do anything and everything to make sure they have the best lives possible.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently an intern living on site for the summer. My experience at IEAS has been incredible. I have seen so much hard work and dedication that the keepers and volunteers have put in to make sure all of the animals are happy and healthy. Running and maintaining a nonprofit can be a challenging job, especially with so many animals to take care of, but IEAS has impressed me. They have gone above and beyond basic care. You can really tell how passionate all of the keepers are. The emotional enrichment program and the tours are just a few ways that IEAS shows their dedication to the well being of all of the animals. I am happy to be working for a sanctuary that takes such great care of their animals.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an intern living on site for about a month. The animals are well looked after, with the keepers clearly caring deeply for the animals and their physical and emotional well-being. Here, the residents are seen as individuals with distinct personalities. The keepers cater to the various needs and usually wants of the animals they work for. The guided tours offer a wealth of information about the backstories of all the animals involved as well as their conservation status and ways the public can help. The small staff and long hours ensures that the animals are treated by the most dedicated people. Though the necessary work can be unappealing and abundant at times, it is definitely rewarding.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Animals appear healthy and very happy, keepers and interns are passionate and knowledgeable, everyone works as a team, and they have been wonderful! I've learned a lot with these guys and look forward to being with them for a long time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been interning here for almost a week now and the experience has been great! I'm getting a chance to help out at the sanctuary and I've already learned so much about all the work that goes into taking care of all the cats, bears, and other animals.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family just went through the tour and it was incredible! The white tigers are very beautiful and the tour guide is very knowledgable. I thought it was great that they give a tour of the nutritional center where they prepare the food for all the animals. It was a great time spent learning about and seeing all the wonderful animals.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked for a small 501(c)(3) exotic zoo in another state for almost a decade. Most people don't realize how many laws, rules, and regulations there are regarding exotic animals, and honestly a lot of people really don't care. We worked with all of our local organizations, and especially the USDA in regards to every aspect of our exotics. When we weren't using our hand-raised exotic animals as therapy animals for people and children with disabilities, we were educating the public on the animals and strongly advocating for the proper care of exotics. I love and appreciate sanctuaries like this not only for the grueling hours everyone who works there puts into the care for each and every animal, but also for doing so much to educate the public so we can one day hope for laws that truly prevent people from acquiring and abusing these amazing animals. All of the props to you guys! You're amazing!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work they put in, and the care they provide, is outstanding. The beauty of the animals is breathtaking, and they deserve the love they receive. www.bigcat.org

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great facility, that takes excellent care of their animals. The tour is very educational and informs you of the captive care of animals.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The animals are cared for with the highest of standards and the habitats are impeccably maintained.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary provides permanent homes for exotic species. They reach out and educate the public about animal welfare, natural history of the species and conservation. The animals have great environments to live out their lives in their forever homes. Overall, IEAS treats all the residents very well and provides them with proper diets, enrichment and care.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an intern at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, I can tell you first-hand that the staff truly cares about the animals. Literally everything we do is to benefit the animals. From carefully preparing their diets, to cleaning up/maintaining their habitats, to caring for their emotional needs, these animals are extremely well cared for and definitely spoiled! :) Be sure to make a stop here if you're in the area or even just passing through to see these amazing animals!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with IEAS from September 2014-August 2015. They are an absolutely wonderful sanctuary, and provide great, safe homes for the animals. They are dedicated to providing education to the public and training responsible future keepers through their internship program. They are a large sanctuary, but allow you the opportunity to learn about the animal residents, take in-depth tours, and provide opportunities to develop personal relationships with the residents. They are accredited and follow stringent safety measures. The animals are relaxed, happy, and have plenty of enrichment! They are only a short drive form Ft. Worth or Dallas - and totally worth the time! You will not be disappointed with your visit - be sure to go during tour times so you can get a personalized 2-hour tour and see most of the residents as they relax and enjoy your company. The residents love the tours, and many make sure they are awake to see each group and show off, play some hide-and-seek, or vocalize for you. I feel lucky to have been a part of their organization!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Small town. Small sanctuary. Staff and interns that are large in heart and effort to provide lifelong homes for those that have been victims of human ignorance. Animal habitats, diet, veterinary care, etc. are overseen by a fantastic group of interns and staff. These animals should not have been bred, BUT, they are now in caring hands for the rest of their lives. Please donate for their care.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary is truly a safe haven for the animals that call it home. These animals are very well cared for with spacious habitats filled with naturalistic elements to provide comfort and enrichment for the animals. A lot of thought and effort goes into the daily care of each animal, from cleaning, to diet, to their overall emotional health. It is obvious that the sanctuary places the animals well-being before anything else.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This sanctuary goes above and beyond making their resident animals comfortable and happy. They ensure that each habitat creates the most natural environment for each individual animal/species. Along with giving exceptional care to their animals, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary has a phenomenal internship program where students and recent graduates can learn a great deal about the animal care industry.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This sanctuary exceeds expectations in that it truly puts the animals' needs first. Hardworking staff members arrive early in the morning to ensure that the animals get fed at their instinctual times and specialized diets are prepared to fit each animals' needs. The animals are given plenty of space and privacy, and even though tours are given to exhibit the animals, they are designed to provide minimal stress to the animals while raising awareness for the issues they face.
They also provide a tough but rewarding and generous internship that allows individuals to gain a foot in the door into the field of animal husbandry.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary is past beyond animal friendly.I would consider the sanctuary a heaven on earth for all the animals that they house. One thing that was very impressive is the image that the exhibits are manipulated to imitate the animal's natural habitat in the wild. Not only are their exhibits a mirror image of the wild but also large in size including ramps/caves/pools which only compliments the animals in helping to maintain their instinctual behavior while being held in captivity. Those methods alone with detailed tours of the animal's history strongly helps in aiding conservation to ensure future generations of animals to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary is a great facility for educating the public, volunteers and interns on the care, conservation, etc of exotic animals such as bears, tigers, lions, and various other small cats. The people are friendly! The animals are happy! The tours are informative and all the staff are personable. Great place to spend a bit of your afternoon. I recommend to anyone who shares a love of these magnificent creatures and wish to help a great foundation.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IEAS far exceeds my expectations as all the awesome people work night and day to provide the proper care, nutrition and emotional enrichment to supply the residents with the drive to explore new avenues and build new memories with people. Their stories serve as advocates for their species to help educate and conserve them in hope that one day we will work to conserve them effortlessly and coexist. The sanctuary touches your heart and is a great learning experience while being entertained.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful place doing amazing things for animals who, if not for this fine organization, more than likely would not be with us. We had a great 2 hour tour of the sanctuary. They show the animals on the tour that are making themselves available to see - as our tour guide said, we are there for the animals' entertainment, they are not there for ours! There is far more shade (at least on the 11am tour) that one would have guessed, so while it's hot in Texas, don't make that your excuse for not stopping here. Each of the animals had a usually very unfortunate start to their life, but this place is making up for it in their later years (though there are certainly 1 and 2 year old animals here too!). We enjoyed it greatly!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This place is great. It looks far away on a map, but it doesn't take long to get to, and is easy to find. The young lady conducting the tour was knowledgable and a real treat. The facilities are well kept and everything looks very well taken care of. Definitely find time to visit the cats.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just began interning at IEAS and I am amazed by the sanctuary. The enclosures are incredible, the animals are beautiful, and the staff is amazing! Here at IEAS the animals come first and that is very important to me. It is great being a part of an environment where people truly care for and respect the animals. Interning here is an amazing opportunity and if anyone wants a great education in animal care, this is the place to apply for an internship.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been an intern here at the sanctuary for the past week and it's already beyond any sanctuary I've ever been to. With habitats far exceeding the sizes required by AZA standards and each habitat having a nice house for the animal, a large pool (for those that want them), and plenty of toys, it definitely is a sanctuary for the animals. Many of them have come from difficult pasts and it's truly a great feeling seeing them content and relaxed in their homes here at the sanctuary.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an intern here at IEAS and I have to say that this place is truly amazing! If you are looking for an internship, you need to apply here. I wake up and go to bed everyday seeing amazing animals and being surrounded by the most kind hearted people. Yes, it is a lot of work, but at the end of the day, this is the experience of a lifetime!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a new intern that has only been working at this facility for 5 days, I can already say that this sanctuary is definitely one of a kind. It is run by passionate animal lovers and experts in the field that know exactly what these exotic species need. These animals seem truly happy and I'm glad I can be a part of making their lives better than they were prior to being rescued.

Amanda149

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Upon arriving at this facility as a new intern, I was impressed by the beautiful, spacious habitats. By far, this facility offers one of the most desirable internships I have ever seen since they give their interns a stipend, housing, and even a vehicle to use. If this wasn't enough, I know that this internship will provide me with an extensive amount of valuable experience working with large carnivores and other exotics. Upon touring this facility, I was not disappointed in anything I saw. They have put a considerable amount of work into making sure each animal they rescue and take in is in a more than suitable enclosure with plenty of natural and emotional enrichment. I am truly impressed by all that this sanctuary is able to do for the animals and every person associated with it.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been following the Sanctuary via internet for 2-3 years now, and today I was able to see the animals in person. It was amazing! It is devastating to hear where these animals come from, but it is wonderful to see how well they are able to live now, in a secure home where they are treated with kindness and respect. The tour was great. It was very cool to see these animals up close.

Christina82

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I found this facility when looking for jobs/internships on the AZA website. Wanting to work with carnivores i felt that this will be a good experience for me, but I didnt know much about this facility before applying. And today I took my first walk around the sanctuary with a walking tour, and I have to say that I am impressed with the enclosures and how the animals lives changed after being brought here. It was a bit difficult to see all the animals on tour, but that is a good thing, allowing the animals to hide or be seen on their terms. Each enclosure was tailored to each species needs.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been visiting this sanctuary since 1990. It has always maintained a wonderful, clean and caring environment for the abused big cats that are fortunate enough to leave their life of abuse behind and now call this sanctuary home. The tours are always given by kind, knowledgeable volunteers. The staff is also caring and very knowledgeable. They originally offered sanctuary to exotic cats only, but now give sanctuary to bears. Try to go during the spring or fall, even a good day in the winter, when the weather is cooler and the animals are more active. I truly praise the work that is done here. I also enjoy donating to this organization as I truly love the big cats and know that my donations will go to improve their lives.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first visited the sanctuary when it was Exotic Feline Sanctuary and was being run by a very nice woman with wonderful intentions. That must have been about 20 years ago. I have since continued donating and visiting the sanctuary throughout its changes and have watched it become even better. It is so wonderful to see formerly abused exotic animals (especially the big cats, which are my favorite) finally find the peace and happiness they deserve. I am so proud to be a supporter of a place that obviously has a great love for the animals in its care. The workers there are amazing and truly have a devotion to the animals. It is so great to see the animals in natural surroundings and also being treated with the utmost respect. This is definitely a nonprofit worth supporting if you desire to help protect and care for these very special animals.

Ashley95

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an intern, I've seen first hand just how much work goes into keeping all of the animals at IEAS happy and healthy. They strive to provide the best for the animals and everything done here is done for them. I am proud to have the opportunity to work with people who care so much about what they do.

Dakota B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While I have visited and interned at a number of other sanctuaries, this one is by far the best! I've always had a strong passion for the well-being of animals, especially big cats and bears, and this sanctuary meets every high standard I set. I'm very honored to have been selected to intern here, as it is the exact kind of facility that I'm hoping to get hired on at. Everything here is 100% about the animals, and it really shows when you see how content the animals are in their habitats here. While it is a lot of hard work, it's very rewarding, and seeing their precious faces every day make it all worth it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an intern, I get to see first hand how well these animals are taken care of. Everything that is done here is for the animals and I am grateful to be able to help care for them. You can tell that the animals are very happy here.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently an intern here and let me tell you it is full of hard work and is very fast paced! This facility is dedicated to maintaining cleanliness and running smoothly. The animals are healthy and seem very happy in their habitats as well. There are so many amazing animals here with unique personalities that I am enjoying getting to know!