Friday, June 21, 2024

Colorado Interlude, Day 3: Lions and Tigers and Bears!

Our Colorado trip involved frequent wildlife sightings. Most days we saw at least one fox trotting through the yard, while groups of mule deer regularly came and went, sampling the trees and plants. In the evenings, black bear would wander past the house. (We quickly learned that dusk was not a good time for an outdoor stroll.)

Day 3 started with an exciting exhibition of squirrel acrobatics... well as the usual birdwatching. Here we have a tanager on the right, and a mystery bird on the left:


Later that day, my nephew drove us east to see some less-common wildlife.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, is a non-profit, 1300-acre natural habitat for large animals that have been rescued from captivity. Newly-rescued animals arriving at the sanctuary are first rehabilitated in specially-constructed compounds designed for their specific breed. Once the rescued animals become confident in their newfound freedom, and can comfortably interact with others of their kind, they are released into the larger habitats of the sanctuary.

Visitors to the sanctuary can view the animals from a tall walkway that extends a mile and a half through the various habitats.

Since our visit was made in the daytime, many of the animals we saw were sleeping. This bear (look at those plush ears!) seemed to be dozing happily:

We were surprised and thrilled when it lifted its head:

We saw many sleeping lions:

This gorgeous serval, however, was awake and alert:

Wolves sprawled about in the wolf habitat, dreaming of rabbits (I presume):

And tigers slept the morning away:

In one of the outermost fields, a camel gazed thoughtfully into the distance:

In a habitat near the end of the walkway, this king of beasts was enjoying a respite from the cares of animal state:

On our way back, we saw bobcats relaxing on their custom perch:

Then one of them jumped down and began to pad along the edge of the habitat:

A coyote watched over its domain:

The last photo I took was of this lordly white tiger:

It was an exhilarating and sobering experience to see these animals - once captive, often sadly-mistreated - now living safely and freely with others of their kind.


Back at the house, a different kind of cat was waiting for us:

And there were more birds at the feeders. I think this one is a black-headed grosbeak:

A western bluebird, western tanager, and finch congregated at the other end of the deck:

Thus ended another delightful day in Colorado.

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  1. What a wonderful opportunity - that Western Tanager is amazing!


  2. That White tiger and Western bluebird just amaze me! So nice to see them on your blog, I've never seen either one before! Isn't Colorado beautiful?

    1. Thanks, Kay! The white tiger was pretty stunning. And yes, Colorado is amazing. I always miss it when we leave.


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