Celebrating 40 Years of Saving Lives!
Book Excerpt #2
Covering both front-of-the-house and behind-the-scenes operations, the tour proved to be a fascinating glimpse into zoo life, up until the point when they wandered into a warehouse area beyond the fringes of the tourist realm. The warehouse and its immediate surroundings served as a holding area where the zoo kept the wild animals for which they had no room in “front-of-the-house” habitats. Pat, stunned and sickened by what he saw, still cringes at the vivid and appalling memory of this wild animal storehouse:
I found dozens of “surplus” animals such as lions, tigers, leopards and other formerly majestic creatures being kept in tiny cramped cages – bathed only in artificial light and stacked in neat little lines like cans of old forgotten food in some dusty pantry…They were such small cages, like dog runs about 4 feet wide by 8 to 10 feet long…I asked if they take turns with the animals on view and he said ‘no.’ I said, ‘Geez, are they going to live here their whole life?’ He said, ‘No, we try to get them to go somewhere else or we euthanize them.’
For Pat, the most heartbreaking part of the enterprise was that these were healthy animals. They were not sick, diseased, or nearing the end of their natural lives. Disgusted by the experience, Pat returned home to Boulder…but he could not stop thinking about what he had seen. Something needed to be done. But what? And by whom?
So what was it that fueled my desire to actually step in and help these animals? Was it the inhumane living conditions…or possibly the look they had in their eyes as I passed by them one after another? Or could it have been the sickness that I felt knowing that these regal animals were not only permanently confined within this hidden dungeon – but also most of them either die from the caustic effects of a broken spirit…or be killed in order to make room for the ever-growing number of cast-off creatures. It was all that, and so much more! How could I feel good about myself knowing that there had probably been hundreds of people who had witnessed what I had, yet none of them had ever done anything about it? Over and over again, one human after another had come and gone only to shake their heads in silence or move on mumbling something like ‘Somebody ought to do something about this.’
Fortunately, somebody did. Over the next year, Pat would lay the groundwork for what would ultimately become the largest captive wild carnivore sanctuary in the world. He would send letters to zoological and wild animal facilities across the country asking if they were looking for homes for their surplus animals. Shockingly, he would receive dozens of replies in response to his queries. The replies had one thing in common, a single resounding answer: YES!
Tigers absolutely love the snow. Here’s “Chase” on a winter day.
Book available at Aerio
The authors are very generously donating most of the royalties back to the Sanctuary’s animals, and each book sale also provides a return to the animals as well, so you and the animals can’t lose when you make a purchase.
Order extra copies today for yourself and for the animal lovers in your life!
Forever Wild, Forever Home invites readers to discover the magic of The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, the premier large carnivore sanctuary in the world.
In 1980, Pat Craig rescued a baby jaguar he christened Freckles and took his first bold steps on a forty-year journey to combat the growing crisis of exotic animal captivity, abuse, and trafficking - one rescue at a time. Today more than 200 bears, 60 African lions, and 70 tigers, as well as jaguars, leopards, mountain lions, wolves, and other exotic animals, both large and small, enjoy peace, comfort, and contentment in enormous habitats on thousands of acres of The Wild Animal Sanctuary's prairie and canyonlands. Rescued from mostly horrific situations, they are survivors, with much to teach us about courage, resilience, and hope. Their lives resonate with our own.
With over 100 color photos, this absorbing, thoughtful, and timely narrative offers an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at what it is really like to care for wild carnivores. Both heartwarming and humorous, Forever Wild, Forever Home honors the nobility and wellbeing of the animals who call the Sanctuary home, and the heroic and gratifying labors of those who care for them.
Join Sanctuary teams on rescues of giant Alaskan Kodiak bears languishing in the Florida tropics, a lion held captive by a fortune teller in a tiny Mexican town, two big cats marooned and starving on a typhoon-ravaged island in the Pacific Ocean, and thirty-nine tigers owned by Joe Exotic, the "Tiger King" of Netflix fame. Meet Colo Colo, an angry African lion from Bolivia; Tasha Joy, a tiger who didn't know she was a tiger; the ever-busy grizzly bears, Tiny who tips the scales at 1,000 pounds and his friend Natasha; Diego, a white tiger; Jumanji, a black leopard; Lambert, a lion who finally learns to roar - and many more. Learn how the Mile into the Wild Walkway, the longest elevated pedestrian footbridge in the world, enables sky-high visitors to see wild animals in vast habitats; how staff and volunteers create cozy houses and unique playgrounds for the Sanctuary's (mostly) furry residents; and what happens when it's time for a large carnivore to visit the doctor or dentist.
At The Wild Animal Sanctuary, tigers chuff in greeting, bears bask under brilliantly blue skies, mountain lions purr with joy, and African lions roar in winter. The Sanctuary is often seen as the last hope for the animals who are rescued and brought here to their forever home. But the thousands of people who visit, support, work, and volunteer here know that this is the place where hope begins.