The Call of the Wild Animal Sanctuary


Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! Oh yeah, and a camel, too. 

Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! Oh yeah, and a camel, too. 

A friend introduced my family to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado and we thoroughly enjoyed our recent day trip there. Keenesburg is located about 40 miles northeast of Denver. 

Holding nearly 300 animals including large cats, bears, wolves, a camel, and many other creatures, it is the oldest and largest nonprofit sanctuary in the United States. It was founded about 30 years ago by Pat Craig who is dedicated to helping large animals and currently serves as the executive director of the reserve. 

After a while, the sanctuary grew from being a reasonably sized area on his farm to being a 720 acre refuge just for the animals. The reservation now has a walkway that elevates visitors above the enclosures allowing people to get fairly close without disturbing the animals. 

The Wild Animal Sanctuary continues to add to their long list of successful international rescues. 

About two years ago, in one of their largest actions the sanctuary saved 25 Bolivian circus lions that had been abused and tormented. The lions had faced the typical life of a circus animal: traveling, living in a cage, and performing tricks to entertain humans. 

Another recent assist was of three female Panamanian lions. The three adult cats were kept in a single 5 foot by 8 foot cage and they were not properly fed or cared for. 

The story I enjoyed the most was about a lion cub named Gala. On the day of Gala's birth the sanctuary came to save the family of lions from a circus in Mexico. By the time they arrived Gala was half dead. The three lions now have happy and healthy lives on the preserve. 

My favorite part of the visit was watching all of the animals thrive in their new habitat. My least favorite part was the bumpy entrance which is currently in the process of getting paved. 

The sanctuary is open daily except on major holidays or due to bad weather. There is an admission fee for adults and children. I recommend a visit to the Wild Animal Sanctuary for all ages, especially those who care about animals. Find out more at