It’s been an exciting year for new arrivals at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary. There’s no doubt that cubs are a handful, and Timmy, Tommy, and Tuffy were no exception! These three American black bear cubs came to IEAS ready to play and haven’t stopped since their arrival!
Timmy arrived first after having been found orphaned in Elk Mountain, Wyoming by Clyde Johnson, who alerted authorities to this helpless cub. He was transported by Game Warden Ryan Kenneda to the Sybille Research Center. He was taken care of for three weeks by Dr. Mary Wood, DVM, MPH and staff of the State Wildlife Vet Clinic. Timmy was then transported to IEAS by Animal Behaviorist, Louis Dorfman and his wife. He arrived weighing only 10 pounds with lots of adjusting to do. Staff immediately took to this sweet cub, who wasted little to no time in gaining confidence and comfort at the Sanctuary. With the help of Emotional Enrichment, he quickly grew to trust his caretakers and was eager to be part of their family. He was curious, active, and very playful. Lucky for him, the perfect playmates were on the way!
Tommy and Tuffy arrived at the Sanctuary just one month after Timmy. Born in the wild, these two cubs had been orphaned when their mother was shot by authorities in Alaska. She had become a threat to the public after repeatedly entering heavily populated areas in “trash related incidents.” Fortunately, these two rambunctious boys didn’t suffer the same fate. They were brought to IEAS where they met their new brother, Timmy! Almost instantly, these three were inseparable. To this day, the three black bear cubs are a close-knit family unit. Daily, they explore the ins and outs of their new home, learning how to be bears in a safe, secure, and positive environment. Using Emotional Enrichment, both Animal Behaviorist Louis Dorfman and Sanctuary staff have been spending countless hours with the trio. Subsequently, all three of these cubs have become confident and self-assured at IEAS. They have undoubtedly come to see us as a source of security and trust, allowing them to fully embrace their new home.
After several months in our Quarantine habitat, Timmy, Tommy, and Tuffy were ready to make the big move to their own naturalistic habitat over one-acre in size. In their habitat, they have meadows, lots of trees to climb, caves, and plenty more to explore. They took advantage of their new habitat instantaneously, heading straight for the trees to climb and play. They have been exploring every inch of their new home, learning all about the new world in front of them. They will certainly never run out of fun, especially since these boys stick together like glue! We are so proud of how confident and inquisitive these three black bear cubs are, and we are excited to watch them grow! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of their journey!
Amazon Smile has been one of our most amazing finds this year! By linking your Amazon account to IEAS through Amazon Smile, they will donate a percentage of your purchases to the Sanctuary. Visit http://www.smile.amazon.com and search for us (you will have to search for International Exotic Feline Sanctuary). Please keep in mind that now, instead of going to Amazon.com to shop, you’ll have to go to Smile.Amazon.com (although if you go to the regular Amazon, a friendly reminder to visit Amazon Smile will pop up!) Same Amazon, same shopping, more supporting!
Planning a trip this year? Maybe a family reunion? Well, when you book a vacation through the Vacation 4 A Cause travel agency, they will donate to IEAS! The donation varies based on the type of trip, transportation, etc., but the average donation for a trip for a family of four is $300! Isn’t that awesome? Book your trips at www.vacation4acause.com to help the Sanctuary. Remember to select IEAS as your charity of choice to ensure that the proceeds go to the animals!
Spice up your home with these amazing, collectable candles while simultaneously raising money for the IEAS animals! Each of these six uniquely scented candles features a beautiful photo of a Sanctuary resident, and a portion of the proceeds from each candle sold will go to the animals! The available scents will change seasonally, so keep an eye on the options! Visit www.charitywicks.com/IEAS for more!
There’s nothing like relaxing at the end of the day with a glass of wine, right? Well, what if you could relax at the end of the day with a glass of wine WHILE helping the Sanctuary residents? IEAS has partnered with Benefit Wines to bring specialty wine to our supporters AND support the animals! Purchase these collectible wines, each with a label featuring one of our beautiful animals, and a portion of the proceeds will go to IEAS! Visit www.benefitwines.com/IEAS for more!
If you get your groceries at Tom Thumb, Kroger, or Albertsons, you can make a difference just by shopping! In fact, in previous years, the annual cost of feeding our small cats (bobcats, servals, caracal, and ocelot) has been completely covered by participating shoppers!
TOM THUMB: Link your Tom Thumb Reward Card to the IEAS Account #2074 at the Customer Service desk, and the animals will receive a percentage of every one of your purchases at no cost to you!
ALBERTSONS: By using our scan cards at the register at Albertsons, they will automatically donate a percentage of what you spend to the Sanctuary!
Call our office at 940-433-5091 to get your scan card! It’s that easy!
KROGER: Kroger will also donate a percentage of what you spend in their stores to IEAS if you follow a few quick steps! First, visit www.krogercommunityrewards.com. Then, sign in using your account or create one! Select IEAS by searching for “International Exotic Animal Sanctuary” or our ID#80177. Choose our organization, and click save! You’re enrolled and ready to shop!
If you enjoy online shopping at your favorite stores, iGive is something you should definitely check out! iGive partners with almost 1,400 popular stores to bring donations to nonprofits like IEAS. Visit www.igive.com and sign up to shop for IEAS (listed on iGive as International Exotic Feline Sanctuary). After you do, each store will donate a percentage of what you spend to the IEAS animals at no cost to you!
If you like that, you’ll LOVE the iGive Button. This is an app that
will automatically let you know when you are shopping at an iGive partnered store! It’ll happen way more than you think, so visit www.igive.com/button to start shopping now!
It’s been a whole year since the last time you heard about these three cubs (unless you follow us on Facebook or receive our monthly newsletter), and you won’t believe how much they’ve changed! Saber, Odin, and Chewy are all favorites of visitors and supporters here at the Sanctuary, and so many of you are interested in the progress they’ve made in the past twelve months!
You may not recognize Chewy at first glance because she’s gotten so much bigger in the past 12 months. However, once you see her playful eyes and quintessentially crooked nose, you’d know that she hasn’t completely changed! When the mood strikes, Chewy is as playful as the tiny cub we all remember. Growing up with the help of Emotional Enrichment has led Chewy to be a sweet natured, affectionate, confident young brown bear. Her independence has thrived, and she has come to find security and comfort in her home and her caregivers. It has been a joy to watch Chewy grow. Her antics and personality are truly adorable. Seeing this playful girl rolling around with her favorite toys or sprint around her habitat after a dip in the pool will leave you laughing every time. We are so excited to watch her continue to grow into an adult brown bear, and we are sure that no matter her age, her endearing personality will continue to shine!
It seems like it happened overnight, but over the past year, Odin has morphed from a tiny, timid lion cub to a regal, confident, young male lion. IEAS Animal Behaviorist, Louis, and his wife, Julia, along with staff of the Sanctuary, have spent countless hours with Odin, helping him gain the confidence and security he has today. He has already reached so many milestones that we knew would come, such as starting the growth of his mane, but one of the most exciting has been Odin’s first lion call! Luckily for us, one of our interns was nearby when Odin started his call and managed to get it on video! Check out his page on our website to see the video! We’ve had so many people comment on how awe-inspiring Odin has become, and he really has. You can feel the pride Odin possesses anytime you’re around him, and it is a wonderful feeling to know that he has come such a long way since he arrived.
To say that Saber has “grown” would be an understatement. Several folks who had seen Saber as a cub didn’t believe that the white tiger they saw in front of them was the same tiger. At a year and a half old, Saber weighs about 350 pounds, and he definitely hasn’t grown into his feet yet! The best part about Saber is that what he has in size, he matches in personality! Saber’s affection is unmatched. He has so much confidence, security and trust in his family that he has absolutely flourished at IEAS. He is playful, trusting, and has a particularly strong bond with our Animal Behaviorist, Louis Dorfman, who has spent many hours with Saber as part of the Emotional Enrichment Program. His upbringing at IEAS has yielded a young tiger who is fully embracing his life, enjoying each playful and happy moment!
We at IEAS began applying Emotional Enrichment to improve the lives and happiness of our resident animals 20 years ago. I will not take up your time describing the program in detail, as a complete description is on our website, www.bigcat.org, under the Emotional Enrichment section.
This evolutionary program has succeeded beyond our optimistic expectations, and we have the most content, relaxed, and happy big cats, bears, and other species one could find in any captive environment despite the horrific conditions from which many of them came.
We just moved three rescued orphaned black bears that came from Wyoming and Alaska to their “forever” wooded and expansive habitat. They immediately started searching through the Fall leaves for “treasures” and climbing up and down the many trees that are present in their area. It is extremely gratifying to witness young cubs who saw their mother killed having a wonderful childhood and knowing they have the support and confidence of their human surrogate parents, to whom they kept returning even the first day of their freedom to make sure all was well and they weren’t abandoned by their surrogate parents.
Our program has also resulted in the animals under our care living to extremely old ages for their particular species: Samson, a lion, passed away at 21 years old. A Bengal tiger named Rani was, at the time, the oldest tiger in captivity when she died at the age of 23. Two more tigers, Boom and Barnum, were 21 when they passed. Boom’s brother, Tony, lived to be 23 years old. One of our longest living residents ever was Tassers, a bobcat, who left us at the age of 24. Currently, we have still living a lioness, Gedi, at 23 years of age and another, Shauna, at 22 years old. We read often about lions and tigers at zoos dying at a very old age, and it is usually 17-19 years old.
We have also seen two of the tigers rescued in recent years, Prince and Princess, go from the anger and agitation they reflected when they arrived to lovely, affectionate, and comfortable tigers that will chuff and come over to the fence for a visit upon seeing one of their familiar caregivers.
Likewise, Kimberly and Karen, two other tigers that arrived about the same time, have had very similar changes in their demeanor from stress and agitation to pleasure upon seeing one of their human friends arrive to visit.
Odin, a male lion that is a little over 1 ½ years old and came to us as a cub, is growing into a beautiful, very happy lion that loves company and always comes to me when I enter his habitat, welcomes some scratching on his back, and then lies at my feet content with the companionship and sound of my voice for as long as I’ll stand there.
Saber, the male white tiger that arrived the same time as Odin and is a few months younger, has developed into a very, very affectionate tiger that lies beside me for long periods of time and also loves to have his back scratched. He is very assertive, intelligent, confident, and playful, so I have to be prepared to have him play with my legs and grab my pants. His playfulness is lessening as he gets older and his affectionate nature is accelerating, so he promises to be one of our favorites. He loves all his caregivers and always comes to the fence with a friendly chuff for each and every one of them.
Chewy, our two year old Grizzly female that we received as a cub has developed into an extremely sweet and lovable bear that is so bonded to humans that she would love to have a human living with her. She loves to be scratched and just have humans in close proximity or entering into the many games she loves to play.
Our Emotional Enrichment Program has gotten the attention of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and we are working with a number of zoos that are either instituting some form of the program into their animal welfare or are exploring with us and others how to do so. St. Louis Zoo is at the forefront, working closely with me and having employed a full time behaviorist just to institute Emotional Enrichment into their program and help other zoos that wish to do so.