Winter at the World’s Largest Carnivore Sanctuary

two female lions walking through snow

Winter at the World’s Largest Carnivore Sanctuary

Snow flies as tigers romp, a lion’s breath is seen while he roars, a jaguar surveys the land atop a powder-covered platform, and migratory Bald Eagles are spotted in every direction.

These are but a few sights of winter life observed at Colorado’s Wild Animal Sanctuary.

Though one of the most asked questions there is, is seasonal in subject, it is asked all throughout the year: “What do the animals do in the winter months of Colorado?”

A perfectly reasonable inquiry. After all, hundreds of the rescued animals residing at the Sanctuary’s two carnivore-based facilities in the state would not normally be born into such climates.

Therein lies the truth of the mater – these carnivores have never set paw on their ancestral soil as they were rescued from captive conditions all over the world. The vast majority had never even experienced grass underfoot before, let alone a jungle or the Serengeti.
However, biology and history play the main roles in answering this question.

Tiger lineage descends from cold climates and as such, they have a genuine love of snow. With lions, there are parts of northern Africa with chilly night-temps and tracing back far enough, lions once roamed parts of Europe. In all cases, fur will grow with temperature fluctuations as especially evident in the burgeoning of coats observed with foxes, coyotes, and wolves.

Many of the Sanctuary’s bears had never hibernated before their rescue (previous owners kept them awake), but after rehabilitation in large acreage habitats with a world-class diet, they eventually hibernate as nature intended in warm, underground dens specially constructed.

There are of course the days with extreme weather, so each species has access to underground dens of their own. More often than not, though, the animals stay “topside”, seemingly unaffected by the cold us without fur shiver against.

In fact, the main weather the animals avoid – is heat.

The elevated walkway of the Sanctuary in Keenesburg is open to the public for education seven days a week, from 9 AM to Sunset. During the warmer months, guests are strongly encouraged to visit in the morning and/or evening hours on account of the high temps.

A cool morning in May, or a stormy evening in June can be wonderful, but mid-January and mid-day July are quite different. Though animal activity is never guaranteed since they are free to roam in their respective habitats, winter days are often full of contented creatures soaking up the sun’s rays – as opposed to hiding from them at that same time later in the year (as we all do).

Be sure to bundle up in defense of the winds, and call ahead if inclement weather is expected, but if ever considering what those rescued carnivores out on the Colorado plains are up to in winter, there is only one way to find out…
For more information on how to support this Colorado nonprofit, its mission, and/or how to visit, please explore:


This is a paid sponsored content article from The Wild Animal Sanctuary.