The Wild Animal Sanctuary

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the oldest and largest nonprofit Sanctuary dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and providing long-term care for captive large carnivores and educating the public about the Captive Wildlife Crisis.

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General Information

Official Name
Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, A Colorado Non-Profit Corporation​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
Former Name(s)
(2011)Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center
Date Established
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
Tax ID
Headquarters Address
Colorado Location
Mailing Address
1946 County Road 53
Keenesburg, CO 80643
Other Address
2999 CR 53
Keenesburg, CO 80643
Main Phone Number
Fax Number
Other Phone Number
Social Media Links

Mission Statement

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the oldest and largest nonprofit Sanctuary in the US dedicated exclusively to rescuing abused, abandoned, and exploited tigers, lions, bears, wolves and other large carnivores, providing them a life of freedom, dignity and loving care for the rest of their lives in large-acreage habitats, while educating the public about the Captive Wildlife Crisis.

Organization History

Established by Executive Director Pat Craig in 1980, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, DBA The Wild Animal Sanctuary, is a state and federally licensed zoological facility and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Originally founded on a farm outside Boulder, CO, TWAS soon moved to Lyons, CO, where there was more room for the animals, and to provide for future expansion. After eight years in that location, TWAS was relocated onto 789-acres of rural, rolling grasslands near Keenesburg, Colorado, about 30 miles northeast of Denver. In 2018, the Sanctuary purchased an additional 9,004 acres of beautiful forested land in southern Colorado in order to open a second facility for current and future rescues.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the oldest and largest nonprofit Sanctuary in the US dedicated exclusively to rescuing captive exotic and endangered large carnivores, providing them with a wonderful life for as long as they live, and educating the public about the tragic plight faced by an estimated 30,000 captive carnivores in America today.

The Sanctuary cares for hundreds of large carnivores including Lions, Tigers, Bears, Leopards, Mountain Lions, Wolves and others. It is the first and only sanctuary of its kind to create large acreage species-specific habitats for its rescued animals. Animals live in 5-300 acre habitats with freedom to run, play and roam.


"I visited the Sanctuary some time ago and had such a wonderful experience. Ever since then I wanted to support all the good work being done there. Now I'm able and I'm looking forward to sharing that experience with more members of my family." -Sheryl K.

"We donate because there is no other organization who even comes close to the wonderful and great job you do in taking care of all the previously caged and abused animals that are the victims of human treatment."- Bill and Claudia V.

"Visited last year, and want to support your work so I can turn other people onto your important mission." -Paul K.

"Love what you guys do, and love knowing that I can be a small part of it with my donation. I also love that our family can come see the success stories in person!"- Ellen W.

TWAS has been recognized internationally for the innovation of their large-acreage habitats and non-invasive wildlife viewing deck. Their 'Mile into the Wild' Walkway is a world-class tourism experience that preserves the sovereignty of the animals' territory, making it a testament to the resourcefulness, social responsibility and industry of this fine organization. Their financial transparency, operational integrity, intuition and compassion not only make TWAS a leading non-profit organization in the animal welfare sector, but also a stand-out among other non-profit, cultural and education institutions within our state. We give TWAS our unqualified recommendation. -Al White, Director, Colorado Tourism Office

"Seeing how the animals at TWAS flourish after enduring heartbreaking situations is a testament to the good that exists in our world. Supporting TWAS is a small way to ensure that the help sadly needed by so many majestic animals can continue. Until we are all as respectful of the creatures that we share the world with - thank you!"- Sara H.

"Wish we could do more. Patrick Craig is truly a hero in what he has accomplished with the WAS. Have visited three times from California and am more amazed each visit with the improvements and the number of animals being rescued." - Maureen Z.

"This place is amazing! The animals here are not sad like the ones you see at the zoo. They are happy because they are given plenty of room to run, play, and just generally live as they would in their natural habitat. Thank you Wild Animal Sanctuary for rescuing these animals and giving them a happy home!" -Kaitlin C.

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