Celebrating 40 Years of Saving Lives!
Book Excerpt #5
[We] came to a profound appreciation of the Sanctuary’s most elemental credo: no matter how many animals live at the Sanctuary, each of them is an individual with their own distinct needs and preferences and desires. They are not just lions or tigers or grizzly bears or lynx or wolves. They are not just orthopedic problems, or vision problems, or the aches associated with aging. They are not a diagnosis waiting to happen, or a salve for our egos, or an exotic animal exhibited for our entertainment. They are as original, unique, and idiosyncratic as every single one of us.
Milo, a giant of a tiger, loves to throw a three-foot long, twelve-inch diameter log into his freshwater tank and then splash in after it. He pulls it out, rolls it around in the dirt, and flings it back in again and again. The animal caregivers shake their heads, resigned to the fact that they must change Milo’s water more often than that of his tiger neighbors. Trouble, a thousand-pound grizzly, is characterized by Kent Drotar as a “pretty nervous bear.” African lion Baby Leo thrives on attention but not too much; he is just learning how to lead a pride and too much hanging out with humans would be unseemly. White tiger Timara’s ears vibrate when she chuffs. Jumanji, the black leopard, is in love with Becca who, of course, speaks “leopard” so she and “Manj,” as he is affectionately known, greet each other daily in typical big cat fashion – approach slowly from the side, bow your head, lower your gaze, and press your forehead gently against your friend’s forehead through the steel fence. Natasha, a grizzly bear who lives with Boris and Tiny, is renowned for her swiftness in chasing the food truck that races along the road outside her habitat’s perimeter fence. Anyone lucky enough to witness Natasha’s speed walks away with a renewed grasp for why savvy hikers do their best to avoid grizzly bears in the wild…
Consider these anecdotes in light of [Tiger King] Joe Exotic’s comment to Becca when the Sanctuary team was at his Wynnewood zoo to rescue thirty-nine tigers and four bears. Becca asked Joe, “Can you tell me anything about them?” Joe turned to her and said, “After you have 120 tigers, their names and personalities don’t matter anymore.”
Sorry Joe, but once again you got it wrong.
By contrast, staff and volunteers at the Sanctuary celebrate the singularity of each and every animal, treating all with respect, concern, and love. For those who would call white tigers enchanted or royal or mystical, we would counter that they are extraordinarily special – but not because of their white coats. Diego is special not because he is a white tiger but because he is Diego! Giant Kodiak bear Max was not special because he was one of the largest, fiercest land mammals in the world but because he was Max! Bob and Percy are not special because they were among the last African lions out of Bolivia when the circuses closed but because they are Bob and Percy! Like all the animals who call the Sanctuary home, they are special not because of what they are but because of who they are.
Bob and Percy arrived at the Sanctuary as cubs. Here they are two years after arriving…
And here they are all grown up!
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.