Honoring Animals – The Wild Way

A male lion's face with a black background

I’m continuing my look at the amazing people and organizations, the tribes, which are working to improve the lives and the futures of animals. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a place that resonated with my soul, and spoke the wisdom of the wild animals to my heart.

Nestled in the hillside of Valentine, Arizona, is a place where over 150 animals, 40 of them are classified as endangered or threatened, are living their lives out in spacious, natural habitats. The place is Keepers of the Wild and it is through education and public awareness that they are seeking to alleviate all animals suffering and help eliminate the use of wild animals as pets and their exploitation in show business.

Most of the animals at Keepers of the Wild came from the entertainment industry, something the founder of Keepers of the Wild knows all too well. Jonathan Kraft is an animal behaviorist that left his home in Holland and came to the United States. He established himself as a successful business owner, producer, creator and performer in Las Vegas. Jonathan’s activism in animal issues got started soon after he decided to acquire and train two tiger cubs for his production. As he interacted with animal trainers, he soon saw first hand the neglect and abuse that many animal performers experience. As Jonathan’s reputation for saving animals spread, other performers began calling him for help and in 1995, Jonathan established Keepers of the Wild.

Keepers of the Wild is a 175 acre sanctuary that is home to over 150 exotic and indigenous wild animals that were rescued, surrendered by an owner, or placed by other animal welfare agencies. They include one grizzly bear, one Dromedary Camel, 33 big cats (Bengal Tigers, Siberian Tigers, Leopards, Cougars) 13 small cats (Bobcats, Lynx), 14 Primates, six Wolves, seven Coyotes, a variety of Deer, Goats, a Pot-bellied Pig, a variety of birds, reptiles, raccoons, and wallabies. All of these animals can depend on a safe and life long home at Keepers of the Wild.

Keepers of the Wild is providing a home to exploited and abused animals but it is also working to alleviate animal suffering through education and public awareness. Their goals are:

  • Set new standards for the ethical treatment of exotic and wild animals.
  • Educate the public about exotic and wild animals.
  • Advocate for the protection from illegal breeding and pet trade that perpetuates a cycle of exploitation.

You can visit the sanctuary yourself and choose the walking or guided safari tour or both. These educational tours are conducted year-round. Keepers Klassroom allows park visitors to learn more about individual species, conservation, habitat, diet, behavior and animal adaptions. Classes are held throughout the year so be sure to call ahead to find out more.

If you would like to help support the work being done at Keepers of the Wild, there are a lot of ways to get involved. Begin with their website. It contains a variety of information, including an online learning center, as well as a variety of animal issue fact sheets. Donations are accepted on their website and you can explore the opportunity to sponsor an animal of your choice.

Another unique educational opportunity available at Keepers of the Wild, is their volunteer opportunities. There are special projects you can volunteer to help out with or for individuals interested in working in the field of animal welfare/wild animal care, Keepers of the Wild offers a 30, 60, or 90 day animal care internship. If you are looking for something with less of a time commitment, but you still want to be involved, consider a volunteer vacation. A minimum of 5 days is requested and you will gain extensive experience while you give back.

There are numerous ways to support the work of Keepers of the Wild. Visit their website to find out more at www.keepersofthewild.org and to plan your sanctuary tour. Or contact them at:

Keepers of the Wild

13441 E. Highway 66

Valentine, AZ 86437

Office: 928-769-1800

Email: info@keepersofthewild.org

Please support the work of Keepers of the Wild. It’s important. So, here is a big SHOUT OUT to the staff and volunteers at Keepers of the Wild, who are dedicated to improving the lives. Thank you Keepers!

As an Animal Reiki practitioner, I’ve been blessed to work with many animals; their compassion and wisdom never ceases to amaze me. These beautiful, spiritual creatures offer humans a great gift. They remind us of who we really are.

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