Letter From The Executive Director of The Wild Animal Sanctuary
(taken from a special edition of the Sanctuary News)
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this special
edition from The Wild Animal Sanctuary.
This is an incredibly rare occasion where we are mailing an urgent plea
to over 75,000 dedicated supporters across the nation – as we are facing a
monumental issue and need your immediate help to solve it!
We are currently entrenched in a battle to not only save a
single bear’s life… but also to save other wildlife… and the Sanctuary’s
ability to help all animals in need.
Time is of the essence, and I hope you will understand the magnitude of
what has to be done - and why it is so important for you to speak out now.
As many of you may remember, over the past decade or so, we
have crossed a handful of thresholds where the Sanctuary’s future was at
stake. Each time this has happened, our
supporters have resoundingly answered our plea for help – and we have survived
as a result of the overwhelming response.
Today, we face another challenge that threatens the core of
what we stand for, and what we do. The
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW)(formerly known as the Colorado Division of
Wildlife) has recently decided to change their stance on a regulation
created in 2005 concerning animals that come from the wild.
Plain and simple, they have come out against a rescue that
we were working on in California. The
rescue involves an adult male Black Bear named “Meatball”, who has grown in
notoriety over the past year for his antics in the city of Glendale, CA.
Like many other wild bears who are starving from the effects
of the drought in the western half of the United States… Meatball found himself
with no other option than to begin frequenting neighborhood trash cans and
garages in search of food.
His occasional antics included going for dips in people’s swimming
pools… as well as running into understandably surprised pedestrians. In any case, his trysts with society ended up
with the CA Fish & Game catching and relocating him a number of times.
However, Meatball was determined to return to his LA
lifestyle… which resulted in his being captured and sentenced to either die –
or be placed in a Sanctuary. That’s
where we came into the picture.
Having helped the CA Fish & Game with other problem
bears from time to time, they knew to call us in order to save Meatball from execution. And of course, we agreed to help by giving
Meatball a permanent home.
Everything was in place for us to drive out and bring
Meatball home when we received word from the CPW that there was no way Meatball
– or any other wild animal – was going to come to the Sanctuary. Of course we were not only upset, but also
mystified by the news, as we had been allowed to save a number of wild animals
throughout the history of the Sanctuary – and most notably – since 2005.
What it boiled down to was a regulation the CPW threw into a
section of their regulations that pertained to licensing Sanctuaries. This new regulation (created in 2005) said specifically “No wildlife taken from the wild
shall be possessed by any wildlife sanctuary.”
What was the purpose of this regulation you ask – good
It seems pretty simple
and straight forward doesn’t it… but in reality, its meaning was highly
questioned by myself back in 2005 when the CPW suggested it to the Wildlife
Commissioners. At that time, I was told
that it was written to help keep animals coming from Colorado Rehab facilities
from ending up in Sanctuaries.
By that, I mean they said they were concerned with wildlife rehabbers
failing to successfully rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife… and that they
didn’t want Sanctuaries becoming an easy option for animals that became
imprinted to their human caretakers. Of
course we agreed with that concept, as it is important that rehabilitation
facilities succeed in rehabilitating their animals… so we agreed to leave the
However, given a 32 year history of regulations being
written for one thing – but then being applied toward a totally different
purpose a decade or so later… I should have known this regulation would
eventually come back to haunt the animals we are trying to help! Needless to say, the current administration
at the CPW thinks differently.
As far as they are concerned, the regulation is what it is
and nothing else. Of the few people that
were remain active in the CPW that were involved with the regulation’s
development back then… most purport that the regulation was written to keep
other states from dumping thousands of animals on us and to keep Colorado from
becoming the wildlife dumping grounds of the nation.
Their favorite quote now is to say let California deal with
their own problems… and don’t give them to us.
What kind of statement is that? Since when does the CPW care for any of the
animals we take in… and how is this their problem? Last time we checked our donor records, we
didn’t see the CPW making any contributions towards supporting the Sanctuary’s
food or medical bills… nor did we ever see them caring that we have rescued and
currently care for more than 80 bears!
So what is it about saving the life of a wild bear versus a
captive born bear that gets them so angry?
Another good question. Is there
really anything that matters more than saving a life whenever and wherever
Do borders, boundaries or nationalities matter? Somehow it is OK that we have saved hundreds
of animals from other states, as well as other countries as far away as Panama
and Bolivia – so why is it so upsetting that a Bear from Colorado, Utah or
California needs our compassion?
What is it about the words abandoned, orphaned, or displaced
wildlife that is unclear? Another good question! There is little to be misunderstood when
the legislature voted this law into being, and how the CPW could create a
regulation opposing it remains a mystery.
The bottom line to all this is the CPW is forbidding us to help
Meatball, as well as many other innocent victims. Remember Zoe the coyote? She was another case where this regulation
was used to sentence her to death. Thank
goodness one of the CPW Commissioners saw fit to help her escape to Canada…
What we need is your help.
You are the key to rectifying this situation, as your voice is what
counts. As citizens of Colorado,
California, or wherever you live – you represent the public’s conscience and
what is right. What you want, is what
our elected officials should strive to do.
Please take the time to call, write or email each and every one of the officials listed - as these are the people who can fix the situation
by repealing this life-threatening regulation.
Tell them you how you feel and let them know that every life is worth
saving regardless of origin.