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2017 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

126 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Bmwingfield

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently an intern here at IEAS and am happy to be here. The sanctuary is consistently meeting their mission and continuing to strive to provide the best care for the animals here and uphold education through the intern program and through tours.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm currently an intern here and during the last three and a half months I've learned more information about animal care, daily operations, and even basic yard care than I ever could have imagined. The people that care for these animals on a daily basis truly have the animal's welfare at the forefront of their minds. Everything we do here is 100 percent for the animals. We keep their agitation and stress to an absolute minimum and we make sure their emotional needs are being met with our Emotional Enrichment Program. We show them comfort and security in ourselves so they feel comfortable in their environment. The staff here is extremely knowledgeable and truly love their animal family. They have been so helpful helping interns reach their potential in this field.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently an intern at IEAS and I am very proud to work for an organization that takes such exceptional care of its animals. Every animal here is treated as an individual and careful thought and consideration is taken to assure that every animal receives everything they need in a stressfree way. This is a great organization that truly cares about its animals and does everything to make their lives better.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently an intern at IEAS. I have only been here a couple of weeks and I already have a huge amount of respect for this place and all the people that work here. The work is long and extremely tiring, but so rewarding. This place puts the animals first for everything, unlike at a zoo. During tours, if an animal gets agitated, the tour will either not go by that animal or not stop by them. Everything is done to ensure the least amount of stress on all the animals. IEAS doesn't have a ton of people to rely on getting everything done, less than fifteen people, including interns, do it all. If you want to be an intern, expect to work hard, right away. This is a great organization, run by people who really care about the animals there.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently an intern here at IEAS and over the past three months have learnt a great deal about caring for exotic felines and bears and also what it takes to keep a sanctuary like IEAS running. This is indeed truly a sanctuary for these previously abused and neglected animals and everyone works very hard to provide them with a relaxing, comfortable, and peaceful place to live. Every animal is treated as an individual and a lot thought and planning goes into making sure each of them receives the care that is right for them. The animals are fed well balanced nutritious diets and are provided with spacious naturalistic habitats with trees, pools and perches. Especially the Bear Orphanage is one of its kind with 10 acres of forested land for the bears to roam around and dig dens and live as free as they can in captivity. IEAS is not a zoo so the animals are never forced to be on display and everything is done to make sure they don't have to feel agited or stressed. Those animals who yearn for company and attention are part of the unique Emotional Enrichment Program that caters for the animals' emotional needs by offering them comfort and security. Staff, interns and volunteers participate in this program by sitting with the animals safely on the other side of the fence. This is truly an amazing place and I would highly recommend to everyone to come out on one of the educational tours and visit the amazing animals that call IEAS home!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently an intern at IEAS and it has been an amazing learning experience thus far. The staff here is extremely knowledgeable about each individual animal and they strive to provide each one with the best possible care. Everything including their diet, habitat, physical well-being, and emotional well-being are taken into account during the day to day operations so that each animal is content and stress-free. With 77 animals in their care this is no easy task, but the Sanctuary is run very efficiently while still maintaining safety as their number one priority. I've learned so much during the first half of this internship and I am so grateful to the IEAS staff for running such a great internship program.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 1

If you are a big cat, bear or other exotic animal, then IEAS is the place to be. You'll get top notch nutrition, spacious living quarters, toys to play with and qualified individuals constantly looking out for your health and well-being.

And if you are looking for a nice place to visit, by all means stop by and take a guided tour of this tree-filled, park-like facility filled with beautiful big cats, bears and other amazing animals.

However... If you are a prospective intern or volunteer, think twice before setting foot in this place. In many cases the interns are treated harshly, and from what I heard it wasn't much better for the volunteer help. If you don't stack up precisely to their very high standards, they will treat you "accordingly". There was much favoritism- those not favored by the staff would be given the dirtier, harder jobs while those that they liked were chosen to help with or observe things that the others didn't get to do. Even asking a simple, reasonable question or getting confused when you're doing something can get you a look of contempt or getting snapped at. In a nutshell: after the "training period", *everything* should be second nature to you and there shouldn't be any questions. Don't even get me started on making mistakes (which, last time I checked, we all do as humans...).This makes for a very anxious and stress-filled 3 months for an IEAS intern. It really is an environment of fear.

I thought an internship was a learning experience, where one is supported and encouraged while they gain skills and knowledge for their desired career path. Instead, it is like bootcamp. They paint the picture that all is happy and harmonious on the surface, but underneath- what the public doesn't see- is tension and angst.

I don't write this to try to 'bring down' this organization. For the most part, they do good work. It's just sad that they can't treat people as well as they treat their animals.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IEAS is a great place. I am currently an intern here. This sanctuary takes excellent care of their animals and puts their needs above everything else. I love that they cater to the animals' emotional needs. Their Emotional Enrichment program is awesome and unique, and their habitats are beautiful and spacious. The staff here are very hard workers and work very efficiently. All of the animals here seem very happy and comfortable, which they definitely deserve after the lives they had previous to their arrival here. I highly recommend that everyone visit this amazing sanctuary.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IEAS is a great place, I am currently enrolled in their intern program. Their safety protocol is the best and the care that the animal receive is above and beyond any other place that I have worked. IEAS is run efficiently and I love that the animals emotional health is considered along with their physical health.

Taylor L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently an intern at IEAS and the staff is incredibly knowledgable. They know all the animals on a deeply personal level and are very accomodating to the needs of even the quirkiest of animals. An amazing group of people working with a truly astounding group of animals. Far exceeds any expectation I had or could've had.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The number one priority of the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary is to provide a permanent safe home for animals that have most likely been neglected or abandoned. This sanctuary was built for the animals, and the staff continue to ensure that the animals' needs come first. The respect and care that the staff shares with the animals is amazing. Come for a tour and see the sanctuary that these animals now call home.

Jess9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This sanctuary is very impressive in terms of the quality of care each animal receives. This includes not only feeding but emotional care as well. Everything that is done is based solely for the well being of each individual and the safety of the animals, staff, volunteers, and guests. From the perspective of an intern, the experience gained here can only be beneficial and one can learn as much as one desires. It is a huge stepping stone for this career field and one will quickly learn their limitations and if this career is for them.

Kristen J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an intern here at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary. I am very proud to say that I have chosen a great animal facility to work at for many reasons. The staff, including the animal keepers, behaviorist, and director, are very knowledgeable about each exotic animal housed here and strives to provide a stress-free and safe environment for each animal. The staff is very serious about the safety policies for both themselves, the public, and the interns so that any mistakes, minor or major, are and will be avoided. They are very specific in their training methods and expect the interns to learn and work quickly, but efficiently. Some things that I admire the most about the sanctuary is that each habitat is large enough so that the animals do not feel constricted, there are many enrichment items to keep the animals occupied and happy, and that so much effort is put into reducing the stress and anxiety of each animals after they are brought into the facility. The emotional and behavioral enrichment methods have made animals that were once abused by previous owners and came to the facility as easily agitated beings into friendly and calm animals. I am excited to continue my journey at IEAS and learn many new things about exotic felines and the work and dedication it takes to becoming a zookeeper!!

1 SueAnn

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If you love animals, this is the place to be! If you don't love animals, please take a tour and see how you feel about them afterward. The animals at IEAS are beautiful, happy, and certainly well-cared for . . . all of which they deserve after the lives they were forced to live before coming to their forever home. The sanctuary staff is fully knowledgeable, the habitats are spacious and clean, and everything possible is done to educate the public about conservation. The great enrichment program ensures that the animals have emotional, as well as physical, care. I will continue to volunteer at IEAS as long as possible because it is such a meaningful and pleasant experience.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IEAS is my favorite place of all time! I'm so pleased that, years ago, I discovered its proximity to my house. After touring several times, I truly wanted to have a connection with this spectacular facility and its beautiful, well-cared-for animals . . . so I became a volunteer. If exotic animals don't have the option of being free and living in their natural habitats, IEAS is the next best place for them to live out their lives. The welfare of every creature there is top priority and the sanctuary provides such a terrific opportunity for the general public to learn more about each of the species and the importance of conservation. I am very grateful to be having this experience of getting to know these animals - they have personality and SOUL.

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Sharron B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This facility is perhaps the best there is. Last year, I adopted a lonely little Cougar who has grown into a BEAUTIFUL 1 1/2 year old. Whether adopter, volunteer, worker, intern or visitor, you will leave this place a better person for having been there. The animals are so precious; many having arrived at IEAS in the nick of time or as a last resort. Living out their lives - whether babies, adults or seniors- they have arrived at a forever home that is fitting for them. It's a shame all animals found in some of their circumstances cannot come to IEAS. Education is foremost as one of their goals, but taking care of these animals, even through enrichment, is their TOP priority. I would not hesitate to recommend visiting IEAS - you won't be sorry; and you will never forget it either. :)

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

With a degree in Veterinary Technology and now retired; I recently adopted a little cougar who had stolen my heart from day one. I am looking forward to sitting with little Thor and spending quality time with him when he gets used to me. This facility is so well maintained and staffed that I am extremely impressed with the care and attention each and every animal receives. It is definitely a "must visit" for anyone in the North Texas area. Please make it a point to do so, you won't be sorry. Truly lots of "lions, tigers and bears, oh my."

Jessica110

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary has established a reputation that far exceeds those of other facilities of its type. As an AZA accredited sanctuary, they maintain standards that focus on the optimal well being of the resident animals. Every detail of the daily routine has been carefully formulated to ensure that the safety of the animals as well as the staff are ensured. This facility does not settle for average living conditions for its animals; enclosures are continually renovated to provide an enjoyable living space for each individual. As Jane Goodall said "The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves". IEAS has embraced this view and it is evident in the work that they do!

Lexi D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When they say that International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS) is run by the cats, they mean it. Every person who works here is dedicated 100 percent to these animals. They care for every aspect of the cats lives physical, mental, and emotional. Their unique Emotional Enirchment program has led to the animals being relaxed as people move around them every day. This alleviates any type of anxiety and allows that animals to live stress free. The physical aspect is taken care of by huge, beautiful enclosures and houses that could easily fit 10 people built by the keepers hands. As a member of the AZA the requirement for enclosure size is 800 sq ft., the smallest enclosure at IEAS is 2400 sq. ft for a tiger. All of the tigers have large swimming pools with waterfalls. Enrichment items are a common object found strewn about the enclosures all of which have been carefully selected for each animal for their mental health and to stimulate their instinctive behaviors. The Dorfman Bear Orphanage is one of a kind, it houses 11 american black bears and allows them to live in natural habitat of 10 acres. The Emotional Enrichment program is also used with the black bears. As an intern here at IEAS I can truly say that every minute of every day is filled with hard work to give these animals the live that they deserve because they must now live in captivity. Never have I been to a place where such emphasis is placed on personality of the animals and where emotions of the animals is considered. I am continuing to learn new things about how to improve these animals' lives every day. From Emotional Enrichment sittings to cleaning a pool. I am so honored to have been chosen to work with these amazing people and wonderful animals. I would be proud to say that I have been able to work here and would recommend them again and again.

Jessie9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary is the only sanctuary of it's kind, with full certification from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). I am an intern for IEAS currently and have never seen an exotic animal facility put so much love and effort into the daily care for their animals. Most of the animals (though not all) that now call the sanctuary home have come from backgrounds of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The sanctuary cares for not only the physical well being of each animal, but also focuses on their emotional needs. Louis Dorfman, an Animal Behaviorist, comes to the facility three times a week and has for many years, to just spend time with the animals. As a new intern, I learn new things every single day; not only about the normal upkeep of an animal sanctuary, but also about each animal's personality and their likes and dislikes. I look forward to the next two and a half months as I continue my internship here. At this point in time I can hardly imagine how much more there is still to learn, and I can't wait to see what comes next!

Chris104

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While it’s unfortunate that we live in a world where the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary even has to exist, it’s an absolute blessing that it does. IEAS currently gives a permanent home and refuge to 43 exotic felines, 16 bears and 2 coatimundis. Many of these animals came from places where they were abused, neglected or just not properly cared for by the people that “owned” them. As an AZA certified facility, IEAS gives these animals the proper diets, spacious habitats, medical attention and respect they deserve. Additionally, through their unique emotional enrichment program, the hard working and patient staff have helped many of these animals learn to trust humans again. The comfort and happiness of the animals is the staff’s number one priority. I highly suggest taking a tour of this facility and making a donation. Not only will you be contributing to the direct care of these animals, you will get to take a behind the scenes look at the peaceful life these beautiful animals have there.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary surpasses the industry standards in providing its inhabitants outstanding care. The IEAS staff provides the exotic felines, bears, and coatimundi optimum physical, mental, and emotional health. The staff is able to do this by understanding each animal and building relationships built on trust, respect and compassion. The relationships the animals have with their caretakers is apparent upon meeting them. They seem comfortable and happy in their environment. And although IEAS is a beautiful sanctuary for humans to visit and tour; its true priority is providing the best life possible for the animals. I would recommend everyone to visit this sanctuary to learn more about the standards of animal care that hopefully soon be used by all animal sanctuaries and zoos.