If you wish to access all of the audio files along the Walkway (to use your phone instead of the kiosks), please go to our main Audio Tour page.
Audio Kiosk #13
On your right is one of many, many Black Bear habitats here at the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary currently has over 200 Bears just at this location with many more down at the Refuge. This particular habitat has nearly 20 Black Bears in it. Here guests can see what a typical Bear habitat consists of. All Bear habitats have many underground and above ground dens, water features and climbing structures. There are also two food stations in this habitat. Like people, Bears are foragers so food is basically kept in front of them at all times. This way the Bears can choose when to eat and what to eat. Bears are the easiest animals at the Sanctuary to put into large groups. At the end of the day, what is most important to Bears is simply food. As long as there is ample food to go around, Bears are not overly concerned with territory. One only has to think of a small salmon stream in Alaska that has multiple Bears fishing in it. Those animals would normally not be that close together, but since there is food enough to go around, all is well. Keep in mind that Black Bears vary greatly in coloration. They can range in coloration anywhere from blonde to black as well as red cinnamon coloring or even beautiful dark mahogany coloring.
Almost without exception every Bear the Sanctuary has rescued has never had the opportunity to hibernate before arriving here. This is for a number of reasons. Often times they are not allowed to gain enough weight to go into hibernation or they are kept awake for performing or meeting the demands of tourists. Another reason is simply the lack of an adequate place or den in which to hibernate. However, living at the Sanctuary changes all of that. All of our Bears are given enough food to put on enough weight for Mother Nature to allow them to go into hibernation. Also, obviously, we are not asking anything of them and they have multiple den structures in which to hibernate. Every once in a while a new Bear may not hibernate their first winter here, but by the second winter they are usually more than ready to. Some of the Bears begin to den-up in mid-October while most of them do so throughout November. We typically figure that pretty much all of the Bears will be denned-up by Thanksgiving. At the other end of hibernation, some Bears begin to wake up in March while most do so in April. However, there are some late risers that will hibernate into the month of May. Usually by Mother’s Day is when we figure all of the Bears will be awake for the summer. Contrary to what many may think, the Bears do not wake up very hungry. As their metabolism comes to life again, their appetite then begins to develop and grow as the summer passes.
In looking behind the Black Bear habitat guests may see some rescued Camels. The Sanctuary has both Dromedary and Bactrian Camels. Dromedaries have one hump while Bactrians have two. They do very well in Colorado as they are very adaptable to both the heat and the cold. You may also see Camels in the large pasture to the south of the walkway depending on which area they have access to. One of our Camels, Morrison, is well known by guests as he has been here for over 15 years. Morrison was rescued from a horse stable west of here where he was raised with horses. As a result, he identifies more with horses than he does Camels. At first this may sound amusing, but in reality it is quite sad. Due to humans interfering with animals’ lives, many do not even know what they are if they are not allowed to grow up around their own kind. Most of the other Camels were rescued from a roadside zoo in Virginia that was closed down due to multiple animal abuse charges, while one female Bactrian Camel was rescued from a hoarding situation here in Ordway, Colorado.
Tigers and Beyond
Now looking in the other direction or towards the east, you will see a large Tiger habitat in which six Tigers currently live. All of them were rescued from the facility formerly owned by Joe Exotic as he called himself or the Tiger King as he was called in the Netflix docuseries that was released in early 2020. In late 2017 the Sanctuary rescued 39 Tigers and three Black Bears from this place. In this habitat are five orange Tigers and one white Tiger. This habitat shows the typical features found in Tiger habitats. These include plenty of dens, shade structures and water features. Tigers love water both in the summer and the winter, as they are known to break through ice to go swimming. Beyond this Tiger habitat is a Grizzly Bear habitat and another Black Bear habitat. Be sure to take your time and search out those animals. Many guests simply gloss over animals in the distance and are missing out on much of what the sanctuary has to offer.