Following an Iowa judge’s ruling that a private, roadside zoo be closed and its exotic animals removed due to “deplorable” conditions, several of the animals are finding new life at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.
On December 9, 2019, the Sanctuary and a number of other rescue organizations including the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and the Animal Legal Defense Fund worked in concert to remove hundreds of exotic animals, large and small, from the Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester, Iowa.
According to Sanctuary executive director, Pat Craig, it was a bittersweet rescue.
“Most of the animals had been removed from the site by the owners before rescuers arrived, so many of the animals we were supposed to bring back to Colorado were not there.
Naturally, our hope is those missing animals not be forgotten and that everything possible be done to ensure they end up in a good home.”
The two black bears, three coyotes, kit fox, and llama that were saved are already adapting to their new homes, with the black bears soon to be released into their 250-acre habitat along with other rescued bears.
Among the animals not rescued were five grizzly bears, two mountain lions (cougars), a wolf-hybrid, and a camel.
Said Kent Drotar, Public Relations Director for The Wild Animal Sanctuary:
“The bears are currently housed in introductory enclosures within their 250-acre habitat and will be so for some time. Having lived in such a small cage for so long, they would be overwhelmed if they weren’t given a sense of space confidence/security. With any luck they will put on enough weight and even hibernate for a short while this winter.”
The coyotes are settling into their new natural space, and could be seen this morning playing and enjoying themselves.
Note that the coyote with the flop-ear had that injury prior to rescue.
Located near Keenesburg, Colorado, The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the largest nonprofit carnivore sanctuary in the world, with over 500 rescued animals including lions, tigers, bears, wolves, leopards and other large carnivores living in large-acreage natural habitats.
Established in 1980, the Sanctuary operates two locations with more than 10,000 acres for abused, abandoned and confiscated carnivores and specializes in rehabilitating captive wildlife so they can be released into natural habitats where they can roam freely and live with others of their own kind.
- Read about the rescues from the roadside zoo in the Des Moines Register at www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2019/12/12/more-animals-rescued-cricket-hollow-zoo-manchester-iowa/4414229002/.
- See article by KWWL TV with video of the coyotes in their pre-rescue cage.
- Search public Delaware County, IA court records here for details related to Cricket Hollow Zoo animal removals (Trial Court Case ID# 01281 EQCV008505).
- Related: North Carolina bears moved to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in 2017.
Source: The Wild Animal Sanctuary