Friday, August 8, 2014

Lions and Tigers and Bears. Oh My.

Hello Everyone. It is night time; I should be headed to bed as I have a long day tomorrow. We are hosting another family reunion picnic for the Head Gardener's side of the family. I will be oven roasting pork tenderloin using a Paula Dean recipe. Eleven pounds are marinating in the fridge now. I made a lemon meringue pie from scratch this evening, prepared the veggie tray, and cleaned the kitchen. Most everyone will bring a dish. Then I am done picnicking and entertaining until Christmas. I need a break. The Head Gardener needs a break. We He has been working very hard on the lawn filling in bare spots with sod. After things quiet down and I get out to take photos of the finished water garden, I'll show you what we have accomplished.

In the meantime, let me share with you yesterday's adventure. I have had the grandsons this week. Wednesday we met the granddaughters at the city park in Ft. Collins and spend the day at the pool. I had a blast. It has been years since I have been at a swimming pool.

Yesterday I told the boys that we were going on a safari. They didn't quite understand what a safari was, so I explained, but I still don't know if they understood.

Our destination was about an hour's drive from here east Hudson, CO, out on the prairie, The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Click on the link to learn more about this amazing sanctuary for lions, tigers, and bears, wolves and other exotic omnivores that have been rescued from deplorable conditions where the animals were kept illegally, abused, malnourished, and neglected. Located amid the wheat fields,corn fields, and oil wells of northeastern Colorado, the sanctuary provides as natural a habitat home for rescued animals. As a non profit, it sometimes struggles to keep going yet it is growing. Walk along the cat walk high above the animals with us.



After we purchased our admission, a volunteer staff member gives us a brief orientation about the animals and the purpose and mission of the facility, along with the rules. Unlike a zoo in a garden setting with animals caged behind steel and glass, these animals roam their 5+ acre size enclosure free and safe. The walk way is suspended above the animals, and since they do have predators from above they don't look up to see what is above them; thus, they are pretty oblivious to visitors.


The facility uses simple and probably inexpensive materials for abodes. Here in this enclosure for a pride of lions cement culverts are used to provide dens, caves, shade, and napping places. Since we were there midday most of the animals were taking their afternoon naps. 






You have seen this large industrial cable spools used as picnic tables; here they are perches for wild cats.




This shot gives a sense of how immense the facility is and how far removed it is from civilization, except for local farmers. On the website you can see an areal view of the sanctuary.


There is a large collection of wolfs and wolf hybrids, as pictured here. 



On our walk back, the wolves had awakened and were more active.



In a smaller enclosure we see a bob cat.


Remember, these animals are here because they have been rescued from an illegal captivity.


The sanctuary is home to 160 bears. 


Visitors need a sharp eye to discover the gnome at the top if bear's waterfall. We giggled over that.



Lots of bear habitat.


The bears were very fat. We watched this fat black bear gorging itself on a pile of fruits and vegetables. I could see pineapples, oranges, grapefruit. I speculated that they are eating to gain as much weight before they hibernate in one of their dens.


This tiger is so beautiful. It is laying next a natural pond oblivious to the crowd above snapping its photo. The animals are not sold, traded, or bred. Once they come to sanctuary, they will live the rest of  their days there safe and well cared for.


The big cat was so beautiful and peaceful that I had to take several photos.









Once the orientation is finished, visitors begin their long walk above the enclosures. The first enclosure is the round house for the tigers. I did miss having a tour guide who could answer questions and explain more about the facility. I need to spend more time on the website. I believe the round house is where new arrivals are kept until they are ready to roam freely and join a family. They need to be socialized, given medical treatment, and acclimated to their new home, so I think that is done here. At any rate the animals seemed very much at home and comfortable, not stressed out as you sometimes see the caged animals at zoos.





Jen leads our little safari out of the park. The walk way is a mile long one direction, so it is a long two mile walk for little legs. It has 3 rest spots with two snack bars and picnic areas where visitors can rest. We packed Subway sandwiches and had lunch before we started the long walk. They don't allow any food in the parking lots or at animal ground level. 

We ended on a bit of a sour note because a huge storm was brewing just to the south of us full of fury with thunder and lightening. Ellie and Nathan got quite scared with the threatening weather. I must say I was a bit nervous, too, so high up exposed to the forces of nature. 

The kids loved the sanctuary. I know that we did not get to see all of the animals that they house. I do know that I was very impressed with their mission and goals and what they are doing for these poor animals that fall victim to humans who think they need to keep exotic animals. You can read about their stories if you go to the website, but be prepared. Some are heartbreaking, but with a happy ending.

And here is our own wild child, Boone. He has grown up to be a very handsome fellow. 



Good looking he may be, he is still a wild child, but getting better.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a fabulous week end. And I hope you enjoyed the little safari. If you ever get to the Denver area and want to do something different and help support a wonderful project, make plans to go on a safari.

10 comments:

  1. What a wonderful day for you all. How interesting to see the recycled objects used for the animals enclosures. They all looked very relaxed and at home.

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  2. What a wonderful place to visit! I love the fact that the animals have free range. You got some great shots. Maybe we'll stop there when we go visit family in Denver. I'd love to walk that catwalk above the animals. Thanks for telling us about this place.

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  3. It's nice to see the big area for these animals to have room to roam. You got some great photos and hubby and I both enjoyed looking at them. We've been to the NC Zoo where the large animals have a lot of land but nothing as big as this! Amazing! I'm sorry about the storm though. They can come up in a hurry! Sweet hugs!

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  4. What a wonderful place - and the animals look in fine condition. It's a shame there aren't more trees about the place though - it looks so barren somehow. Glad you all enjoyed the safari - what a treat. Enjoy your time with the family - you really have had a busy year - I don't know how you do it - I feel exhausted just reading about it.

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  5. What an interesting concept to be above the animals, and I like how they recycle things for the animals to use. I found it odd too that trees weren't utilized more.

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  6. Looks like you had a good day at the animal sanctuary. Hope the reunion goes well; food prep sounds like good eating will be had on the day!

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  7. Must have been a wonderful day out, especially for the kids. The animals of the sanctuary look all very comfortable and healthy, the tigers are just beautiful. Your own 'wild child' looks like a very handsome fellow and be prepared, our Snarf is already 12 years and still behaves like a wild child.
    Hope you had a great reunion day today!

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  8. Ann, I am choosing my words very carefully, because I do not want to be misinterpreted...but my heart breaks for those animals. Not because they are caged, but because of the circumstances that lead them to this place.

    It is indeed a beautiful sanctuary..but it is not the wild, which is what they deserve. My sadness is for those who feel it's fine to breed, and capture wild animals to be sold as pets.

    Thank goodness there are places where they can live out the rest of their lives in a area that is as close to the wild as they will ever get. But I can only hope that somehow in the future sanctuaries are not needed, because the law, and common sense intervenes instead.

    My dislike is not for the sanctuary, but for those who would abuse, and mistreat the animals, and think it is acceptable to raise them in captivity just because they can.

    Jen

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  9. Hi momma. Thank you for having the boys this week. Thank you for taking them swimming and to this an inal sanctuary. We had the boys at the zoo the Sunday prior. While this park is not where these animals should be it are meant to be, they are doing a good deed and we can support their efforts by visiting and teaching our children how to treat gods creatures. On a side note: it would be nice if there were trees. However, this area of Colorado is the high prairie. While we have had one of the coolest and wettest summers ever, there are not any native trees to this part of our state. They have to be planted and nurtured. Having worked in a zoo for a shirt period of time I know how hard it is to have trees in an enclosure with these types of animals.

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  10. Did I read lemon merinage pie? yummy. Your boy looks so much like my brothers lab Buddy.

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