The mission of the Wild Animal Sanctuary is to provide life-long habitats for exotic animals that have been held in captivity.
They wish to raise awareness of the captive wildlife crisis plaguing America and other parts of the world.
According to their website, "As many as 30,000 captive great cats, bears, wolves and other large carnivores are living in substandard conditions throughout the U.S. In fact, after illegal drugs and weapons, the exotic animal trade is the third largest source of illicit profits in America—and the world—today."
Each animal I was lucky enough to photograph was held in captivity and either confiscated or surrendered to the Sanctuary.
Once at the Sanctuary, these animals get to live out the remainder of their lives in carefully curated habitats designed to mimic their natural homes.
While the public is granted the privilege of seeing these incredible animals (and photograph them), this privilege does not come at the expense of the animals' comfort.
Visitors are able to view the animals from a suspended walkway that hovers over the several habitats. This is not a zoo, and the animals aren't always out to be seen.
It's not just major predators that call the Sanctuary home - several camels, horses, emus, and alpacas (like this guy here) have also been rescued from abusive or illegal situations.
The Sanctuary makes sure to express the severity of the captive wildlife crisis to every visitor. Over at their website, you can read an account of each animal's individual rescue story. These animals aren't seen as attractions - they are living creatures with names and stories that made me tear up.
I can't help but imagine these two as best friends, living out the remainder of their days in the comfort of the Sanctuary.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary cares deeply for each animal. If you are ever nearby, I promise you that it is worth the drive out to Keenesburg!