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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Education, Environment, Protection of Endangered Species, Wildlife Sanctuaries

Mission: The mission of The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) is to rescue and provide life-long homes for captive great cats, bears, wolves and other large carnivores, which have been abused, abandoned, exploited and illegally kept and to educate the public about causes and solutions to the dramatic plight of thousands of captive wildlife in the United States.

Results: The Wild Animal Sanctuary has rescued hundreds and hundreds of large carnivores over the past 39 years from illegal and/or abusive situations - and provides them with large free-roaming natural habitats to live in. The Sanctuary currently operates a 9,793-acre refuge for rescued animals, and provides direct education to over 180,000 people per year concerning issues relating to the Captive Wildlife Crisis in America.

Target demographics: People who are passionate about helping animals - especially Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other majestic Creatures who are victims of the Captive Wildlife Crisis in America today.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1-200

Geographic areas served: US - Canada - Mexico - South America - Spain

Programs: Our Current Programs Our facilities are some of the most contemporary in the nation. We build species-specific habitats ranging from 5-acres to 35-acres, and have dozens of these natural habitats spread throughout our 9,793-acre facilities. Newly rescued animals dwell in large enclosures during their rehabilitation process in order to build groups who will ultimately have a new habitat built for them. These roomy, comfortable environments offer our rescued animals’ unprecedented freedom and more natural living spaces. All habitats have underground dens that supply temperature controlled housing; or hibernation dens; year round. TWAS also has “The Mile Into The Wild Walkway” - a unique system of elevated cat-walks and observation platforms that allow visitors to view our rescued animals and enjoy their habitats, while reducing the animals’ exposure to humans.

Community Stories

829 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Oh my gosh, if I could give this place all the stars and money I would. I love animals and have been involved with many nonprofits but I have never been as amazed. Pat and Monica are just on another level of commitment and transparency. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is unapologetically animals first! They have my full heart and support. If you have not visited yet, you must make the trip out there today!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have never seen so many passionate and dedicated volunteers and workers as I see at the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The facility is clean, the animals are well fed and cared for. They have as much room as they want or need. Any donations go to a very good cause.

Deirdre Lucky C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hello, my name is Deirdre and an Animal Advocate, mostly for the Wolf. My visits to WAS have always been enjoyable, especially when I bring my 2 grandsons. The variety of wild animals is amazing. For some, this could be their first time seeing such animals which most of the time are in zoos with bars. That's what is special about WAS --- there are no bars, just land for these wild creatures to roam and live in peace. I did volunteer, briefly, at WAS, standing on the Walkway near the Wolves in case anyone had a question. And I am thinking about volunteering again once I retire.

Donor

Rating: 5

Totally dedicated staff and volunteers. Executive Director is amazing.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband Jim Riddle (flight engineer on Samaritan's Purse DC-8) and I took three of our youngest grandchildren and our daughter with us to visit the Wild Animal Sanctuary on April 19th to meet Lambert the lion and Tasha Joy the tiger who were airlifted off the island of Saipan in December 2018 several weeks after a Typhoon devastated the zoo. Pat had given Jim his card and an invitation to come down and see the cats when we could, so we certainly DID. Jim saw the conditions Lambert and Tasha Joy were living in on Saipan and was there for the whole transport to Denver which was quite amazing what you all did. Everyone was awesome, Kent was our tour guide and did a fantastic job, we were treated very well and we love your top class care of these animals to see that they live out their remaining lives living happy and healthy. We thank you all for your hospitality. God Bless You, Jim & Sharon Riddle daughter Kellie, G-kids Jesse, Brett & Breanne

1 Julie J.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An amazing sanctuary that puts the animals needs above human needs and wants. THAT is the right way to run a sanctuary!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

BEST Nonprofit Sanctuary on Earth! I volunteered, then worked at The Wild Animal Sanctuary for 11 years, and have given and helped other nonprofits all my life. So I know a winner when I see one! The great cats, bears, wolves and other assorted critters who are saved and cared for by TWAS are the lucky ones. The Sanctuary not only rescues and provides large acreage habitats for 100's of animals, but also works tirelessly to educate about the Captive Wildlife CRISIS in America and around the world. Please visit their site at www.wildanimalsanctuary.org, and learn how you can be a part of this magnificent calling to make the world a better place to live! Grateful to share the adventure...Toni Scalera

Kenlyn K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered there since 2008 and I love the integrity and devotion that this place has to its residents, the beautiful animals who have been rescued. Great work and thank you for all you do!

Tamar B.1

Donor

Rating: 5

In 2013, I saw an ad on the back of my AAA magazine about The Wild Animal Sanctuary. I thought, Oh wow, this is only 30 miles from Denver. My family and I drove to Keenesburg to see the big cats, bears, and other animals out there. Not only did we see magnificent lions, tigers, leopards and bears but we found something else: Joy! We learned how TWAS rescues these beautiful animals from sad situations where their care was inadequate and enclosures pathetically small, and through the miracle of love and a healthy environment, transforms them into the majestic creatures they were meant to be. You can feel their joy! So spread the joy, give to TWAS! Help them continue their rescues. You'll be happy you did.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer and supporter I have seen first hand the dedication and hard work that goes into making sure the rescued animals have a safe comfortable place to love. The education to the public is excellent as well.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having followed TWAS since the Bringing Up Eddie story, Christmas of 2018 I decided to purchase many of my Christmas gifts from their Gift Shop. Since I live in Florida and TWAS is in Colorado, I went to the website to shop. I had a few questions about some of the items, and the 2 Young men I spoke with who work in the Gift Shop were So-o-o-o helpful. They went out of their way to make my "shopping experience" enjoyable.
On another note, as a Biological Technician,, I was interested in the details of the care of the animals. Watching the animals in their TWAS enclosures - their interactions with other animals, there general condition - confirmed to me these lucky animals were content. The innovative overhead walkway for the public is just another way TWAS put the animals first! I actually did some computer research on animal sanctuary care, and what I found was TWAS was way above the standard of care in all categories. The new 9000 + acre Refuge currently under construction is just another way TWAS puts the animals first by providing the animals a habitat as close to their natural habitat as possible. The TWAS focus is always on the Animals entrusted to their care.

Beth Lehr S.

Donor

Rating: 5

The genuine love the staff has for the animals is apparent at the Wild Animal Sanctuary. This is the best place on earth to see love, compassion, and caring in action. Everything is done with the care of the animals as the #1 priority. I wish I could trust other non profits to be so wise with the resources they have.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to the Wild Animal Sanctuary for years; they are truly the most ethical, honorable, and important charity I have ever supported. I cannot say enough about the value of the important work that they do.

Margaret89

Donor

Rating: 5

Have supported The Wild Animal Sanctuary for years because I think they give outstanding care, love, health services, and lots of space to all the animals who are lucky enough to get to live there. They provide this care to all animals, even those who are not considered large carnivores, but who need sanctuary. I am so thankful they exist and have now bought more land so that they can provide a haven for even more animals who need help.

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Donor

Rating: 5

I have never visited TWAS, but I follow on Facebook and am continually impressed with how healthy, happy, peaceful, and clean their animals always look, despite the most often terrible shape in which they arrive there. TWAS seems to me to be very transparent in how they operate, always sharing their reasons for doing anything. Additionally, they are very knowledgeable about their animals, which they also share. I think TWAS is a leader in innovations for true sanctuaries, e.g., their large habitats.

Cheryl Liane S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The most well run animal sanctuary I have ever visited. I spend a lot of time there because the energy is so positive due to the healing work that has been done to save these animals from the most cruel, abusive and (at best) neglectful situations.

1 Cindy237

Donor

Rating: 5

We came across this Sanctuary in Colorado years ago and instantly knew we would support them in every way we could furrrrrever! What they do for neglected, tortured, mistreated wild animals all over the world must be supported and celebrated.

Now we belong to the Circle of Life group and last year became Founders for their new land, The Refuge. From the Director to staff to volunteers > they all have the same mission to love and help animals, which matches our mission as well.

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Donor

Rating: 5

We've visited TWAS years ago and have supported them every year since! These are people who have dedicated their lives to rescue wildlife from horrifying conditions world wide and give all of them a dream retirement life!!! We've even been impressed enough to name TWAS in our estate. Please consider putting TWAS on your bucket and donation lists!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I absolutely love this place. The work they do at the sanctuary is amazing. Every time I visit the volunteers and employees are so friendly and very dedicated to their cause. I happily donate every month knowing my donation is truly helping an animal that lives here.

JoAnn H.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a wonderful place for animals that needed rescuing from horrible situations. At The Wildlife Sanctuary, they are allow to be as free as possible.

Donor

Rating: 5

I would give The Wild Animal Sanctuary a ten if it was possible. Visiting the Sanctuary is simply a joy. To see so many animals being able to live out there lives in peace and health is indescribable. I visit many times a year, and I am a committed donor. The animals are kept in multi-acre habitats. Most have underground dens at a depth that maintains temperatures that are neither too hot or too cold. My favorite part of the Sanctuary is the 1.5 mile above the animals walkway (3 miles round trip). Unlike zoos, visitors are not face to face with pacing, stressed out animals. The animals are at peace. It warms my heart.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have a friend,who lives in Colorado,start posting photos on FB,about The Wild Animal Sanctuary. I went to visit my sister in law,who lives in Highlands Ranch,Denver. I told her about TWAS,said that I would love to visit. She said that she had heard of it to and wanted to visit as well. So off we went. We fell in love with the sanctuary. To see the animals,who had been kept in roadside cages,cement pits,for the entertainment of tourists,some never feeling anything but cement under their feet,living the remainder of their lives,in freedom and safety,made me want to be a part of this beautiful sanctuary.....seeing the brown bears lounging in the huge galvanized pools,puts a smile on your face,they never have to beg for food again. They even have a camel and donkeys.
I became a monthly sponsor. My SIL a yearly sponsor. She sponsored a table,at the rescent gala. Pat Craig's passion and mission,to save these animals,is inspiring. He works 7 days a week,has not taken a vacation in over 30 years. That is dedication. The passion of the volenteers keeps this sanctuary running smoothly. They truly love the animals. Every time I visit Colorado,this is one of my destinations.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a donor to and lover of this Sanctuary and now Refuge. I visit often, donate regularly and I attended the art sale/auction last fall where I was able to purchase an acre of land at the Refuge and become a founding member. You can't help but be moved by the passion and dedication of the staff and volunteers of this wonderful home for the abused and neglected wildlife that live there. The loving care that is provided there is incredible. I never arrive at the Sanctuary empty handed, bringing items on their wish list with me. I always feel as though they truly appreciate whatever I am able to give. I highly recommend a visit. You will be changed forever!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a donor and have volunteered at The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) for 1.5 years. I have almost 20 years in non-profit executive management experience. TWAS is an extremely careful and judicious steward of donors’ monies. I can say with 100 percent certainty that every decision made at the Sanctuary is made in the best interests of the animals served by the organization. Every staff member and volunteer is incredibly dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, health and happiness of each animal in the organization’s care.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One day at the Wild Animal Sanctuary with Pat Craig and his staff was life changing for me. I had read the story of Eddie the Black Jaguar and made a promise to myself to stop there on my next cross country road trip. Seeing all these incredible creatures in wide open spaces, so content, relaxed and at peace filled my heart with JOY. This sanctuary is a labor of love, and all who visit and those lucky animals that get to live there all feel it.

Jody S.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The best home these abused and neglected animals will ever know. Pat Craig is an amazing, and dedicated champion of these beautiful creatures. I absolutely love the wild animal sanctuary and someday would love to visit the Refuge.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Such an amazing place with amazing dedicated people helping to make sure these wonderful animals are taken care of!

Jenny B.8

Donor

Rating: 5

I grew up in Africa and loved seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. This spacious sanctuary provides its inhabitants, who have suffered atrocious living conditions, the chance to live out their lives in a fantastically well-managed environment.

Brooke B.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Incredible rescue. Selflessly dedicated to the animals they serve. Great experience on-site. Knowledgeable and friendly staff.

Daniela12

Donor

Rating: 5

I became a donor when I visited The Wild Animal Sanctuary for the first time 4 years ago.
You can tell how happy, relaxed and chill the animals are, they are lounging peacefully in their state of the art habitats or play with some enrichments or in their pool.
The Founder Pat Craig, his family, staff and volunteers are just wonderful, the most caring, dedicated and hard working people I know. The animals are always their priority.
The visitors center is an amazing place, with the nicest staff and volunteers. The huge TV screens are a wonderful way of educating and raising awareness of the captive held wild carnivore crisis in the USA and abroad.
The schools should make an annual mandatory field trip in order to teach children that these beautiful rescued furry residents DO NOT make good pets.
Since last year I became a Founder of The Refuge, which is a heaven on earth for the rescued creatures where they can enjoy pristine landscapes and many natural amenities. I cannot wait to see the first animals set foot in their extra large habitats.
I love spending the day at the Sanctuary; after walking for hours with my binoculars and camera, it’s great to take a break at Lions Den Cafe where they serve delicious food, for everyone even vegans.
The gift shop is usually my last stop as I always find the cutest and rarest little or big gifts. It’s truly my happy place and a very special place in my heart, I love spending the day or sometimes two days at TWAS. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is best and the most progressive Sanctuary in the world!

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Donor

Rating: 5

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the best Sanctuary in the world, they have the most state of the art facility by giving the animals all the care, love, respect and dignity they so deserve.
The founder and visionary, Pat Craig & family, the staff and the volunteers are the most dedicated, hardworking and caring humans I ever met.
The ANIMALS ALWAYS COME FIRST and you can see it by the way they look, happy and relaxed even after all their previous horrific captive held lives.
The Sanctuary's furry residents radiate happiness and peacefulness. I noticed several of the new rescues from the time they arrived
within only a few weeks of just how well they have adjusted and acclimated to their new environment and wonderful large habitats.

The Sanctuary is a Blessing for all of us, I always feel at home when I visit. Everybody is very kind and helpful.
I am delighted that I have become a founder and part of the creation of this historic 9,004 acre refuge
for Lions, Tigers, Bears and Wolves and other rescued animals from around the world that were suffering terribly in captivity.
Being part of this wonderful and the most amazing Sanctuary and now Refuge is a dream come true for all of us animal lovers but mostly the animals.
I would encourage everybody to become a founder and make difference in the world for so many helpless and voiceless animals who now will have a place and forever home. No matter how big the donation you can all become part of it.

Thank you TWAS and The Refuge to continue to grow for the past 38 years and to be the best wild animal sanctuary in the world!!!

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Chase10

Donor

Rating: 5

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is one of my favorite animal organizations and one of my favorite places in Colorado! I feel so lucky to be living here now so close to such an amazing and inspiring organization. I believe their mission, the way they conduct their work, and the way they communicate with the public make them a leader in animal non-profits. Their work and vision are exemplary!

Sarah H.7

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing place. Such a happy, inspiring place and affirmation that kindness does exist in our world. Thank you TWAS.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is an amazing loving place for rescued large carnivores. There is no other place on earth that can compare to this incredible sanctuary.

Lori D.5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I admire the hard work, love and dedication to rescuing these animals in distress and providing large habitats for them to live as stress free a life as possible.

Michelle M.9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Education for the public about the Captive Wildlife Crisis is extremely important. This organization does a wonderful job spreading the word in hopes they will some day not have to rescue captive born wild animals.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This place is extraordinary! Everyone works so hard to care for the animals, all the way up to the founder, Pat Craig! This place is not only heaven on Earth for the animals but for those of us who visit and support it.

Jason V.1

Donor

Rating: 5

The sanctuary makes me happy every time I'm there!