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An Unlikely Home for Rescued Lions, Tigers, and Bears

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Oh my! This is an awesome story.


The high plains of eastern Colorado would seem an unlikely place to hear the roar of African lions, the growls of Kodiak bears, or the snarling of Bengal tigers. But a refuge in the small town of Keenesburg has brought together one of the largest and most unusual collections of wild predators anywhere in the country, possibly the world.

Stretching across 720 acres 30 miles northeast of Denver, the privately run Wild Animal Sanctuary hosts a staggering menagerie of wildlife—nearly 400 animals, most of them large carnivores rescued from illegal or inhumane captivity. There are black bears and grizzlies, African lions and American bobcats, Siberian lynxes and South American jaguars.  

They’ve been freed from shopping malls, taxidermy shops, and amusement parks. They’ve been confiscated from filthy backyard pens and fly-by-night circuses, even seized from the homes of convicted drug dealers. They’ve been drugged, beaten, left to lie in their own excrement in tiny cages.

National Geographic

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