We always put the animals first!
Animal Care is the Heart and Soul of what we do and what makes us special.
Everything we do is for the animals' benefit, and we never compromise when it comes to keeping them safe, happy and healthy for the rest of their lives.
Our team of dedicated staff and volunteers work tirelessly 7 days a week, 365 days a year to ensure every animal receives the very best care possible.
It is our goal to place all of our rescued animals into large acreage habitats where they can experience life with plenty of space, diets of exceptional quality, expert veterinary care and freedom from performing, traveling or doing anything unnatural.
Once rescued animals arrive at TWAS, they are given safety and solitude to adjust to their new home. Depending on the level and type of abuse they have suffered, they are all rehabilitated with loving care, so they learn to trust humans and other animals.
Animals live in a variety of places on our grounds, based on their species and time at TWAS. Newly-rescued animals need time to adjust to their new home before they can be released into a large acreage habitat.
Every species we rescue has their own version of rehabilitation process they go through prior to transitioning into a habitat. Yet, the processes are very similar and vary more by location than anything.
Most animals transition into large acreage habitats fairly quickly, so the majority of our rescued animals end up living and roaming freely with others of their own kind within weeks of arrival. Others, that have endured severe abuse, starvation or neglect may take weeks to months before they are physically and/or mentally ready to transition.
In any case, once the animals are settled into their new homes, our animal care team ensures each animal is comfortable and in the best physical and mental condition possible. Our team makes sure each animal receives their own special diet, plenty of personal space for living, roaming and sleeping... and that they are very compatible with every member of their grouping.
Our facility is broken into zones where teams of caregivers work together in order to accomplish the challenging workload found in each zone. Being our facility is well over one mile square, each team has a lot of ground to cover during the process of completing their work.
Utilizing a fleet of All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's), our caregivers spend their days feeding and cleaning, as well as maintaining and building new habitats. In all, the Sanctuary feeds over 85,000 pounds of fresh food per week, so the business of receiving, processing and delivering that much food requires a serious amount of manpower and coordination.
The Sanctuary utilizes both paid staff and volunteers to accomplish our mission in general, as well as to care for the animals, and currently has over 160 active volunteers and 53 paid staff.
Our animal care division currently has 13 dedicated staff members who utilize the help of volunteers to accomplish all of the daily tasks. A large percentage of volunteers help with food processing, since there are numerous deliveries of fresh food arriving daily at the receiving dock of our Carnivore Nutrition Center (CNC). There is plenty of work involved in receiving and processing the food before it can be delivered to the animals.
Diets – The animals are fed on a somewhat random schedule, similar to how they would eat in the wild, which helps address their natural biological needs. Every week TWAS feeds over 40,000 pounds of top quality USDA-inspected meats (beef, poultry, mutton, pork, etc) blended with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to the great cats, wolves and other carnivores.
Habitats – TWAS has over 120 habitats, ranging in size from 5 to 300 acres, on rolling prairie grasslands, forested canyons, buttes, bluffs and hills - with pools, temperature controlled dens, seasonal lakes, and other natural amenities. Each habitat has both above and underground dens that keep the animals comfortable year round. Our specially-designed underground den systems stay about 60 degrees all year long, so they remain cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Veterinary Care – We provide exceptional veterinary care for our animals. Upon arrival, they are checked and vaccinated if necessary. Since we do not allow breeding, male animals not already neutered undergo sterilization procedures when they arrive. The only exception is for African Lions, which would lose their manes if castrated. As an alternative, female African Lions receive contraceptive implants to depress their fertility cycles. For serious medical issues requiring major diagnostic equipment such as MRI or CT Scan machines, the animals are transported to Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
TWAS Veterinary Hospital was built with all necessary, specialized equipment to comfortably accommodate animals as large as our biggest residents, the 1900-pound Kodiak bears. Our onsite hospital handles the vast majority of animal medical issues, relying on multiple staff veterinarians. Our hospital also provides educational opportunities for our veterinarians and students who want to specialize in large carnivore care.