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Coming together to support the animals at The Wild Animal Sanctuary

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is home to seventy tigers, sixty African lions, one hundred bears, and dozens of leopards, mountain lions, and other large carnivores. Lions and tigers and bears – oh my!

By Julie Montoya; photos courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Just 30 miles northeast of Denver, large carnivores roam the grasslands at The Wild Animal Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Center (Sanctuary). Home to more than 300 large cats, wolves and bears, the Sanctuary is the only facility of its kind in the United States, rescuing animals that have been kept illegally or abused in captivity.

The Sanctuary consists of a series of natural habitats that cover an impressive 720 acres of rolling plains, where visitors can come and observe the animals in their natural habitat. The large carnivores at the Sanctuary are allowed to live out their lives with plenty of space to roam, an exceptional diet, and proper veterinary care. Visitors to the Sanctuary take advantage of the unique observation system of elevated walkways and large observation decks to view the animals in an open and unobtrusive way.

In June, more than 1,200 people came out to raise money for the Sanctuary at the kick-off to this summer’s fundraising effort. The 2013 Run/Walk Into The Wild was a 5K event, which included entertainment, food vendors, artisans, and children’s activities. This first-ever event was a roaring success, raising more than $40,000 to benefit the animals.

Castle Rock residents Laurence and Arianna Desmaris, as well as Castle Pines resident Natasha Ciccolella went to show their support, and even got into character sporting “tiger” face paint. Laurence is a long-time supporter of the Sanctuary saying the run was “a great thing to do for the animals, and the perfect way to be involved.” With its success, preparations for next years event are already underway!

On August 17, the Sanctuary will host its Rock Into The Wild concert event. This is the third in a series of free concerts this summer and will feature many talented singers/songwriters performing on stage, all-day, at the Sanctuary’s outdoor pavilion. The Colorado Chef’s Association will also be on hand showcasing an abundant amount of mouth-watering food. The day’s events will also include vendor booths and activities for children. Visitors are welcome to bring picnic blankets and chairs to enjoy the outdoor concerts, and for a modest visitation donation the Sanctuary staff will lead tours through the Sanctuary.

For more information and to get involved, visit www.wildanimalsanctuary.org.

Castle Rock residents Laurence and Arianna Desmaris and Castle Pines resident Natasha Ciccolella sport painted faces at the Run/Walk Into The Wild event.

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