Colorado animal facility will stay open, cites gifts

By The Denver Post Staff
Article Last Updated:10/16/2006 10:51:10 PM MDT

Keenesburg – One of the biggest sanctuaries in the nation for tigers, lions, bears and other carnivores reversed itself Monday and said it would stay open, citing a surge in donations and the difficulty of finding homes for its 150-plus animals.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary had announced in August it would close its site 30 miles northeast of Denver because donations plummeted as people shifted their contributions to worldwide victims of tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes.

The announcement triggered a flood of donations, the sanctuary said in a written release Monday. The new support, coupled with the realization that it would be impossible to find new homes for most of the animals, prompted managers to keep the sanctuary operating.

The recent donations will be used for immediate operating needs and to develop a long-term business model, founder and executive director Pat Craig said.

Craig said the group was “overjoyed” that it will stay open but he warned its funding crisis was not over.

The sanctuary is a nonprofit organization and receives no government money, he said.

It describes itself as the largest of its kind in the nation.

It has African lions, tigers, bears, wolves, mountain lions and leopards on its 140 acres.

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