The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Saving one animal may not change the world... But surely, for that one animal... The World will change forever!

aka Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center   |   Keenesburg, CO   |  http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org

Mission

The mission of The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) is to rescue and provide life-long homes for captive great cats, bears, wolves and other large carnivores, which have been abused, abandoned, exploited and illegally kept and to educate the public about causes and solutions to the dramatic plight of thousands of captive wildlife in the United States.

Notes from the nonprofit

The Wild Animal Sanctuary, and its network of accredited facilities, which include The Wild Animal Refuge and The Wild Animal Sanctuary-TEXAS, represent the most advanced and truly pioneering captive wildlife organizations in the world. With our combined 10,514 acres of incredibly natural habitat and large acreage enclosures, rescued and rehabilitated animals can finally live a life resembling as close to living in the wild as possible. We continually put the needs of our animals above all else and never cease working to improve our standards of care and everything we do on their behalf. Our educational efforts reach millions of people per year, and cooperate with numerous international animal welfare organizations to rescue animals in need.

Ruling year info

1999

Executive Director

Patrick L Craig

Main address

1946 County Road 53 None

Keenesburg, CO 80643 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center

EIN

84-1351483

NTEE code info

Wildlife Sanctuary/Refuge (D34)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

There are over 25,000 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores living in people's back yards, basements, apartments and in other private facilities outside of the American Zoological System in America today! This "Captive Wildlife Crisis" began nearly four decades ago when public zoos began dumping their surplus animals into the private sector - which in turn - planted the seeds for what exists today. And now, with many foreign country economies growing by leaps and bounds, the crisis has begun to expanded into an international problem! Law enforcement and animal welfare agencies across the country and around the world are fighting daily to help save beautiful and majestic creatures from suffering. Yet, there has to be a viable option for placement, as these animals need a place where they can become rehabilitated and live the rest of their lives. This is why animal sanctuaries are so important, as they provide the answer to this ever growing need!

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Animal Rescue Program

Providing Rescue Services to:
National, State, and Local Law Enforcement & Animal Welfare Agencies who confiscate large exotic animals from illegal or abusive situations...

Individuals who have come to the conclusion that exotic animals (especially large carnivores) are not pets, and find they were mistaken to think they could successfully own and care for one.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Rehabilitation, Medical Attention and Long Term Care for rescued animals.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Wild Animal Sanctuary works to educate the general public on the causes, affects and solutions to the Captive Wildlife Crisis in America in order to bring about change and eventually solve the problem.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) 2017

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) 2018

American Sanctuary Association Accreditation 2019

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) 2019

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) 2020

American Sanctuary Association Accreditation 2020

Association of Zoos and Aquariums Certification 2020

American Sanctuary Association Accreditation 2021

Awards

Outstanding Assistance 1984

American Humane Association

Hands On Award 2000

Collage Children's Museum

Promoting Animal Welfare 2005

American Veterinary Medical Association

Certificate of Appreciation 2008

Colorado Association of Animal Control Officers

Secretary's Annual Honor Award 2012

United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA)

Best Educational 2017

Emmy Awards

Best Educational 2018

Emmy Award

4 star award letter 2019

Charity Navigator Excellence

Best Educational 2019

Emmy Award

Affiliations & memberships

Community Shares 2018

GFAS Verification 2018

USDA Honor Award 2018

USDA Appreciation Award 2019

American Sanctuary Association Accreditation 2019

GFAS Accreditation 2021

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of animals with freedom from hunger and thirst

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

AnimalCare Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary has rescued and rehabilitated over 1,000 animals and currently cares for more than 680.

Total number of acres of area indirectly controlled under cultivation

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

AnimalCare Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary has added an historic amount of natural land to create the largest Sanctuary/Refuge in the world for captive large carnivores.

Number of animals with freedom from discomfort

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

AnimalCare Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Animals rescued come from illegal and abusive situations, and are rehabilitated and released into large natural habitsts.

Total number of fields trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary hosts schools, civic groups, clubs and private schools to learn about the captive wildlife crisis in America.

Average number of dollars given by new donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

AnimalCare Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary had over 5.4 million dollars in new donor gifts in 2020.

Dollars donated to support advocacy efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary has continued to increase advocacy and donations to help rescue and rehabilitate large carnivores - raising over 21 million dollars in donations for this effort.

Number of advocate or trained spokesperson citations in the media

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary has ten highly-trained public education representatives that continually speak with the media and government officials to educate and train them on captive wildlife issues.

Number of audience members with favorable attitudes towards the issue or interest

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The sanctuary's social media footprint reaches more than 2.8 million fans, followers, and subscribers that remain active and integrated with our public education efforts.

Number of individuals attending community events or trainings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families

Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Nearly three thousand people attend the Sanctuary's annual summer events, as well as another 156,000 that visit on-site for educational purposes in 2020.

Number of invitations for advocates to speak as experts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary has a dedicated speaker's bureau that travels to speak to groups and meetings all over Colorado each year - presenting to thousands of active listeners who want to learn more about us.

Number of list subscribers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The sanctuary has an active subscriber list for the quarterly publication of more than 386,000 people who live across the United States and in foreign countries.

Number of outreach attempts to reporters

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The sanctuary reaches out to the media through continual press releases covering rescues and other important information and hosts numerous on-site interviews and stories each year.

Number of overall donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The sanctuary continues to grow exponentially each year adding new donors all the time. Currently, more than 385,000 individuals are active supporters of the Sanctuary from all over the world.

Number of curricula designed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families

Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary has a complete primary education learning module that is free and available to teachers all over the world. Additional publications and educational videos are available on and off site.

Number of assessment guides accessed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary and its Board of Directors utilize four core assessment tools each year to ensure the organization is meeting its mission and efficiency rates remain extremely high.

Number of external speaking requests for members of the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Public Education Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary has a dedicated speaker's bureau that travels to speak to groups and meetings all over Colorado each year - presenting to thousands of active listeners who want to learn more about us.

Number of sector award nominations earned by the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Animal Rescue Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Sanctuary was awarded 2 Emmy Award for its 2019 educational video productions, and received 1 awards from national animal welfare groups for our work in animal rescue and transportation.

Number of animals with freedom to express normal behavior

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

AnimalCare Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our 10,473-acre Sanctuary specializes in rehabilitating its rescued animals and allowing them to live in large acreage natural habitats where they can roam freely and enjoy life outside of a cage.

Number of individuals in the target audience that expresses intent to adopt (or continue) desired behavior

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

AnimalCare Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

the sanctuary has a virtual adoption program that teaches children and adults to care about and be responsible for rescued animals and currently has more than 3900 active adoptive parents.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Sanctuary has the following goals that relate to its mission:
(1) To rescue and provide a high-quality life-long home for animals that are caught up in the Captive Wildlife Crisis.
(2) To educate the public about the issues surrounding the Captive Wildlife Crisis.
(3) To help generate new laws and regulations that will benefit wildlife by educating government agencies, legislators, and other officials about the Captive Wildlife Crisis.
(4) To assist other sanctuaries and animal welfare agencies in their quest to save captive wildlife.
(5) To pioneer new methods of caring for captive wildlife so their lives in captivity are more enriched and have greater value and meaning.
(6) To establish a broad network of support that will continue to grow the Sanctuary's financial capacity and strength so the mission of the organization can continue to function with stability and purpose.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary has specific strategies in place to accomplish its six primary goals.
(1) Build a fleet of specialized rescue vehicles that can respond to animals in need no matter how small or large the operation is, and establish a world-class sanctuary where animals can live freely and in comfort with exceptional care.
(2) Create a Sanctuary where the general public and animal advocates can learn in-depth lessons about captive wildlife and the reasons behind their needing rescue and placement in sanctuaries.
(3) Build a consortium of legal professionals, legislators, animal welfare groups and other influential entities that can help create better laws and regulations pertaining to captive wildlife.
(4) Establish the Wild Animal Sanctuary as a proven entity that is ready, willing and able to help government agencies, sanctuaries and other animal welfare groups when there is a need for cooperative assistance in emergencies and other times of need.
(5) Design, create and build a sanctuary where animals can roam freely in large acreage natural habitats and live with other rescued animals of their own kind in harmony.
(6) Establish complete transparency and build a network of communication where donors and supporters can clearly see the value of the Sanctuary's work so they will continue to support the important work being done there.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary has continually focused its efforts on the goals and strategies that will enable it to follow its mission. Doing so has helped the organization establish the following capabilities:
(1) The Sanctuary has built its homing and care capacities by adding more than 10,000 acres of land so that it is able to respond to a significant number of rescue requests - thereby helping the animals in need at the most critical time in their lives. It also maintains a fleet of highly-specialized rescue vehicles that can rescue and comfortably transport up to 75 animals at one time.
(2) The Sanctuary is able to comfortably accommodate large numbers of visitors (over 150,000 per year) who are interested in learning about captive wildlife and the issues and trends that create their need for being rescued.
(3) The Sanctuary is able to respond to urgent issues in states where captive wildlife issues have plagued the state and general public, and has the resources and backing in public pressure to help create and pass new laws and regulations that will help stop the abuse of captive wildlife.
(4) The Sanctuary is able to respond and assist sanctuaries and government agencies when they find themselves in emergency situations without the proper tools, manpower or experience needed to successfully help animals in dire situations.
(5) The Sanctuary has been able to design and implement a unique and effective rehabilitation program where rescued animals transition from being scared, abused and malnourished, to becoming healthy, happy and confident so they can live in freely in large acreage habitats with others of their own kind.
(6) The Sanctuary is able to continue to reach thousands of new people each year in order to educate them about the mission of the Sanctuary and convert their appreciation and interest into ongoing support through its many programs of giving.

The Sanctuary has always remained focused and true to its mission to help animals. Throughout the three decades of operation, the Sanctuary has continued to extend its capabilities toward addressing the Captive Wildlife Crisis. Its operations have grown from an original 5 acres 35 years ago, to more than 10,473 acres in 2021. Its workforce of volunteers have continued to grow, with over 160 active volunteers helping to rescue and care for animals - as well as provide high-quality educational opportunities to the public.

The Sanctuary has grown in capacity in both rescue operations and animal care, with more than 650 lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other large carnivores thriving within the Sanctuary's grounds. Over 85,000 pounds of food is fed on a weekly basis, and the Sanctuary has built partnerships with giant corporations like Wal-Mart and energy giants who donate more than 6.5 million dollars worth of in-kind goods and supplies each year.

New cooperative relationships are formed on a daily basis , and the Sanctuary has continued to win awards and honors from independent industry monitoring entities such as Guide Star and Charity Navigator, as well as receiving prestigious awards from the Federal Government.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, in response to a highly controversial Netflix docuseries called Tiger King, our organization was called upon to rescue more than 127 Lions, Tigers, Bears and other exotic animals from a number of the character's facilities. Working with Federal agents and other law enforcement agencies, we were able to rescue hundreds of animals from horrible conditions. Instead of living in tiny barren cages, those animals now live in large natural habitats that measure in acres instead of square feet.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Local, state & federal law enforcement and animal welfare agencies. General public for educational purposes.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Our organization has continued to seek and react to constituent input from numerous sources in order to increase our positive impact with regard to animal welfare issues, the humane treatment of animals and societal changes that will help protect animals and encourage better human/animal interactions and respect. With the release of the documentary Tiger King, our organization was able to leverage the massive interest in the story to highlight the real impact on exotic animals, and demonstrate how great the need is for cooperative efforts to intervene and provide post-rescue care for the animals involved. In doing so, our organization created positive change by modifying our internal efforts to liais between local and national law enforcement agencies and numerous welfare organizations.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Numerous programs and services have been modified or changed in reaction to input and data received.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,

Financials

The Wild Animal Sanctuary
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Board of directors
as of 8/12/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Toni Scalera

SAG-AFTRA

Term: 2021 - 2023

Maria McCann-Glover

Independent Actress

Ashley Watson

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Scott Edwards

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

George Ellis

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Antonina Scalera

Sceen Actor's Guild

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/11/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/11/2021

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.