Photo courtesy of https://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, knew of the so-called “Tiger King” Joe Exotic well before the series became popular in the last few weeks. The Sanctuary took in 39 of the former zoo’s tigers as well as 3 black bears in 2017 when Joe Exotic’s zoo was shut down.

Photo courtesy of https://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

Becca Miceli, Chief Science and Animal Welfare Office, says the Sanctuary is trying to provide the animals with a home and plenty of open space that they have not had before. “You know try and provide them with as many freedoms that people unfortunately tried to take away from them,” said Miceli.

“They did have some issues when we first got them, a lot of dental issues, things of that nature. Unfortunately, they did have some nutritional things that once they got on a better diet, had some things supplemented that they needed, some specific vitamins that big cats can lack,” said Miceli.

Photo courtesy of https://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

The Sanctuary says they are hoping that the popularity of the show raises awareness for the exploitation of exotic animals. For comparison, the Wild Animal Sanctuary does not breed any of their animals, does not allow petting or touching from staff or visitors, and utilize an elevated walkway to keep humans away from animals and alleviate stress from visitors being in close contact with the animals.

The Sanctuary is currently closed due to COVID-19, but you can continue to make donations online in the form of money or animal food donations.

Kaylee was raised (but not *technically* born) in Colorado. She graduated from Regis University with a bachelor of arts in English. During her time at Regis she worked as a teaching assistant in a freshman classroom setting and in the writing center helping students on a variety of topics. While there, she discovered Cura Personalis, or care for the entire person, leading to her love of feminism and desire for equal rights for all. Kaylee is the managing editor for AboutBoulder, OnDenver, and a key member of the OnMetro team, launching this platform in cities across the United States.