Audio Kiosk #1
The Sanctuary is Really Big
Thank you for visiting The Wild Animal Sanctuary. A written transcript of the audio tour can be found by scanning the QR codes on each of the audio boxes. The Wild Animal Sanctuary began rescuing animals in January 1980 and is the oldest and largest sanctuary in the world dedicated to rescuing captive-born large carnivores. Here at the main Keenesburg location, there are over 500 rescued animals and the sanctuary encompasses nearly 800 acres stretching 1 1/2 miles north to south, and here where you stand, it is 1 mile wide—east to west. If you look to the east, or to the left, along the horizon line there are a number of 15 to 20 acre Bear habitats. With its large-acreage habitats, the Sanctuary provides an unparalleled home for large carnivores, with about 200 Bears living here as well as about 150 Lions and Tigers and many other species of animals.
Mile Into the Wild Walkway
The Wild Animal Sanctuary has an absolutely unique way to view its rescued animals. Our number one goal is to give the animals the best home possible, so it is imperative that the presence of people does not disturb them. The solution is our Mile Into the Wild walkway that averages 20 to 40 feet in height above the ground. Just as human beings are not concerned about birds and airplanes above them, the animals do not consider the sky above them as territory they need to be concerned with. Therefore, the tens of thousands of visitors each year presents no threat to the animals and their territory, and they are able to go about their lives in a carefree manner. The 1.51 miles of elevated walkway has been certified by Guinness World Records as the longest pedestrian footbridge in the world. The walkway is built on-site and more information about that construction can be found farther down the walkway.
Firehouse and Beyond
As you look to the southeast or about 45° to the left, you will see a small white building made of the same white material as the Welcome Center. This building is used to house fire-fighting equipment and other essential supplies for our Animal Care and Operations teams. Directly beyond it are multiple Lion habitats, in which lions rescued from Spain and Bolivia live. In another one of the Lion habitats is where Baby Leo and his pride of Lions live. Baby Leo was rescued at four months of age after unsuccessfully being given to a three year old girl as a birthday present! Also out in that direction is the Asiatic Black Bear, Dillan, rescued from a sportsmen’s club in Pennsylvania in early 2020. Even farther out and to the south are over a dozen Tiger habitats in which live most of the 39 Tigers rescued from the self-proclaimed “Tiger King”, Joe Exotic, in late 2017.
The Leopard Sky Bridge
In front of you in the middle of our Leopard habitat is what we call our Leopard sky bridge. Like most cats, including house cats, Leopards enjoy being in a position that is higher than the ground around them. This gives them an obvious sense of safety but also allows them to better see the surrounding terrain. If you look closely at the four towers holding up the bridge, you will see that there are four platforms. The Leopards, especially in the evening hours, can often be found on one of those higher platforms. The Sanctuary has both typical orange-spotted Leopards as well as melanistic or black Leopards. In the wild only about 4 to 6% of these powerful animals are melanistic but they are more common in captivity. There are not nearly as many Leopards in captivity as there are Tigers and Lions, so it has been many years since the Sanctuary has rescued one of these gorgeous animals.