Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Proper Introduction: Winter Interns 2016

Robin Gilbertson

My name is Robin Gilbertson from Cedarburg, WI. I graduated in May 2016 from the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay with a major in Animal Biology and a minor in Human Biology. I have had a wildlife rehabilitation internship at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary mainly working with songbirds, waterfowl, and birds of prey. I also had an internship at Animal Gardens as an animal care intern working with hoof stock and exotic animals. I helped raise a few of their baby animals as well. I have worked at a vet clinic in the past and volunteered at the Green Bay Humane Society. One day I hope to be at a sanctuary helping wildlife and educating people on the native animals (basically wildlife rehab).
Favorite Animal:
            I love arctic fox and sea turtles.
Favorite Song/Artist:
I love Avicii. Any of his songs are amazing.
Favorite Movie:
My favorite movie would have to be either Grown Ups, Gnomeo and Juliet, or any Lord of the Rings franchise (which includes The Hobbit).
Role Model:
My parents of course.
I collect movie ticket stubs from every movie I go to. I like to see which movies I’ve seen and how many times.
Weird Talent:
            I can touch my tongue to my nose without using my hands.
When I am not working, I would rather be rock climbing or singing to music I know without a crowd or just hanging with friends.

Dannielle Edick

I am Dannielle Edick from Mohawk, New York. I graduated from SUNY Delhi with an Associates in Veterinary Science Technology and from SUNY Oswego with a Bachelors of Science in Zoology. I have prior experience working with exotic animals from an internship at the Utica Zoo in their Commissary and Veterinary/Quarantine area as well as another in the North Trek/African Alley section. I also performed an internship at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in the Small Mammals department and then an apprenticeship back at the Utica Zoo in the Commissary/Quarantine area.

Favorite Animal: Gray Wolves, Cheetahs, and Servals. Ooo and Snow Leopards, Amur Leopards too… Red Foxes and Harbor Seals as well. Too many choices, can’t pick just one! Guess I’m in the right profession! Arctic Foxes, Osprey, Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, and Blakiston’s Fish Owl also!
Favorite Song: Coming for You by Twelve Foot Ninja, also And We Danced by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Almost everything by Green Day, Rise Against, and Ghost. (I am REALLY bad at making decisions for this kind of stuff…)
Favorite Movie: Star Wars, Lion King, all the Harry Potter films, Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, Sherlock Holmes (with Robert Downey Jr., also like Sherlock the TV show), Aristocats, Braveheart, Robin Hood (with Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman), How to Train Your Dragon (Still going with my outrageous lists theme here…)
Role Model: Ummm… My parents? (Always the safe answer. And it’s true!)
Hobby: Reading, watching TV and movies, listening to music, watching hockey, and hanging out with animals. (I also love Renaissance Faires…)
Weird Talent: Getting distracted? (Outside of work of course!) YouTube is the bane of my existence (so many random things I didn’t know I wanted to know more about!). I’m so good at getting distracted that it sometimes circles back around to being productive! (Get to doing something that wasn’t what I needed to do, but also needed to get done)
When I am not working, I would rather be doing: see above (that’s pretty much it…).

Sarah David

My name is Sarah David, and I graduated from the George Washington University in 2014 with a degree in Biology. Since then I have had the opportunity to intern at the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans and the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA, after which I worked as an outdoor educator at Camp Allen, outside of Houston, TX. My ultimate goal is to do community-based conservation in developing countries, working to alleviate conflict between humans and the wildlife they interact with on a daily basis. I hope to use the skills I acquire in animal keeping and in animal behavior at IEAS to bridge gaps between people and animals wherever I go.

Favorite Animal: Lion
Favorite song: Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass/Girl I Wanna Lay You Down by Jack Johnson
Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Role Model: Hillary Clinton
Hobbies: Singing, playing guitar, painting, reading
Weird Talent: I am an amazing dream interpreter.
When I am not working, I would rather be: With my family.

Leigh Walker

My name is Leigh Walker and I am from Winfield, Missouri, a small town located on the Mississippi River. I graduated from the University of Missouri in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife and a minor in Captive Wild Animal Management. Previously, I studied wildlife conservation abroad in South Africa, as well as interned at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, MO. My dream is to work in the field on a conservation project abroad. When I’m not working, you can find me doing yoga, playing rugby, hiking, or exploring the city!

Favorite Animal: Clouded Leopard

Favorite Genre: Indietronica

Favorite Movie: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Weird Talent: Using my feet as hands

Hobby: Adventuring

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Wonderful World of Wolves

Romulus (left) and Remus (right) enjoying each other's company.
Here at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary we have two grey wolves who call this place home. Remus and Romulus are brother and sister who are a little over a year old. They are still getting used to their surroundings here at the sanctuary, but they are getting braver and coming out of their shells more and more every day.


Wolves are the ancestors of today's domestic dogs. Historically wolves lived throughout the lower 48 states, but they were hunted for years and almost disappeared completely. Recently though, they have made a comeback and have been seen in the Great Lakes, northern Rockies, and the southwestern US. Wolves are very important to keeping ecosystems running smoothly. They keep populations of deer, elk, and other game down so that they don’t over eat the vegetation and make areas barren. Their leftover meals are also helpful to scavenger species who need a meal. When wolves are taken out of an area the ecosystem can collapse.


In the wild, wolves live in pack of about 8 animals. They are very intelligent animals who have a hierarchy that they live by. The alpha male and alpha female of the pack are the leaders and make all the decisions. They track the prey, decide where the pack will live, and are usually the only ones who are allowed to breed. It has been seen that if a subordinate male and female mate then they are either exiled from the pack or severely punished. The hierarchy keeps everyone in line and helps everyone survive.

Living in a pack helps wolves with more than just having a family to hang out with. Their numbers help them to be able to hunt large prey to feed everyone. Packs work together when they hunt and are able to take down prey that is much larger than them, for example bison or moose. Everyone knows that wolves eat meat, but what a lot of people don’t know is that they also need fruits and vegetables to stay healthy. They need the nutrients from fruits and veggies that meat can't give them. Remus and Romulus love eating and playing with pumpkins here at IEAS. They make a huge mess but it is worth the clean up to see them having so much fun with their food.

Come visit Remus and Romulus here at IEAS on one of our tours and learn more about these amazing animals! You can visit for more information.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas for the Cats Bake Sale!

Fundraising is very important at a non-profit organization such as the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary. This Saturday, December 17th, you can come join us at our 2nd Annual Bake Sale outside of Love’s Gas Station on Highway 114 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.  Last year the bake sale raised $500 selling cookies and other baked goods for the sanctuary. 

Last year's bake sale with one of our interns (Amanda) and apprentice (Michelle).

Some of the many baked goods we sold at the bake sale.
This year we are planning to increase our variety of baked goods thanks to the friends and family of the sanctuary staff. We are also extremely appreciative of Subway in Boyd for donating additional baked goods, Target for donating a gift card for ingredients, and Love’s Truck Stop for allowing the bake sale to take place on their property. If you're buying any baked goods, be sure to stop down the road by IEAS where we will be having guided tours starting at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Servals: Not Your Average House Cat

Raja enjoying her nice, green grass.
Servals are wild felines from Africa that are often kept as house pets in the United States. Though these cats are the same size as a normal, domesticated house cat, they are not the same at all. Ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, purebred servals can be very expensive depending on its genetics. The price isn’t the only con of keeping this wild animal as a house pet. Servals are more likely to run away if they are allowed to be indoor/outdoor pets. However, if the owner decides they only want their servals to be indoors they are going to have to provide a lot of climbing space.

Barbara lapping up some water.
Servals are also very instinctive night hunters and will not be nutritionally satisfied with just cat food or just ground meat.  The vitamins and minerals that servals need to be nutritionally sound are not just found in ground muscle, they need the bone and organs as well. Luna and Raja, two of our servals here at IEAS, have a hard time walking araound because they did not get the proper nutrition in their vital time of growing. Because of their hunting instincts, they don’t tend to do well with other animals. 



Servals do not instinctively go to the bathroom in a litter box; they tend to need very large litter boxes if they do decide to use them. Unfortunately servals are not a very good pet to keep and often end up being relinquished to other homes or facilities like ours. The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary is home to three servals: Luna, Raja, and Barbara; all of which were privately owned at one point or another. Come on out to see our servals! Our tours are everyday at 11AM and an additional tour on Saturday at 3PM. 

Servals do not make good pets, so please think otherwise if you are thinking about buying a serval as a pet!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

IEAS Participates in the Grapevine Parade of Lights!

IEAS will have its first-ever participation in the 37th Annual Grapevine Parade of Lights on December 1st! The Grapevine Parade of Lights is the largest lighted Christmas parade in North Texas since 1979. Interns and Keepers have worked on float preparations for nearly two weeks. Our float theme is Winnie the Pooh's Winter Wonderland and Friends to describe the diversity of our resident animals at our Sanctuary. Most of our float has been built with reusable materials that have been found around the sanctuary, for example our molds to create Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet are made from chicken wire and paper mache. Then these molds were painted to bring our animal friends to life! Participating in this parade will allow us to promote our Sanctuary name and the educational tours we have everyday at 11 AM and an additional tour on Saturday at 3 PM. So, please come and join us at our first enrollment of the 37th Annual Grapevine Parade of Lights!
Charlotte painting Tigger to life.
Tigger is ready for the parade.
Kate working on Piglet.

Kate paper mache Winnie the Pooh's ears.

37th Annual Grapevine Parade of Lights

Thursday, December 1, 2016
Beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Historic Downtown Grapevine
Parade Route: North on Main St. from Hanover Dr. to Northwest Hwy.
The parade is FREE to attend. No tickets required for viewing the parade!
2016 Theme: "Famous Christmas Characters"

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fun Facts About Our Bears!

Currently there are 8 remaining species of bears in the world. These include:
1) North American black bear             5) Andean bear
2) Brown/Grizzly bear                        6) Panda bear
3) Polar bear                                        7) Sloth bear
4) Asiatic black bear                           8) Sun bear

Here at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary we are the home of three of these species with a total of 30 bears. We have the North American Black bear, brown/grizzly bear, and Asiatic black bear.

North American black bears are what most people in the United States think of when they hear about bears in the wild. They are the most common bear in North America. A common misconception about them is that they are always black. This is false, black bear coats can change colors throughout their lives and be both black and brown. This is also true about brown/grizzly bears. Both of these species are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and vegetable matter. Their diet is majority vegetable matter and a small portion is meat. Twinkle (pictured above) loves to eat grapes! Black bears range from Florida up to Canada and Alaska. Brown/grizzly bears have a smaller range across Europe and also Alaska, western Canada, and parts of Washington, Montana, and Wyoming.

Willy and Papa

Here at IEAS we have 7 brown/grizzly bears and 22 black bears. An easy way to tell black bears and brown/grizzly bears apart is to look between their shoulder blades. Grizzly bears have a large hump of muscle between their shoulders and black bears do not. Grizzly bears use that extra muscle for digging and our family of grizzlies use theirs to get into mischief in their enclosure. Brown/grizzly bears are typically larger than black bears but there are always special circumstances for individuals who might be a little smaller or larger than average.

Asia and Ashley

Asia (pictured above) is our only Asiatic bear. They are also commonly known as moon bears or white-chested bears. Asia is a very special girl who loves her sweets and is quite sassy. Asiatic black bears have long black fur with a white crescent shaped patch on their chests. They also have a longer patch of fur around their necks, which makes Asia extra cute. Asiatic bears are found in deciduous tropical forests throughout Asia. Like the other bear species, Asiatic bears are also omnivorous. However, they are more carnivorous than the other species. The majority of their diet is made of meat and only a small portion of vegetable matter. Asia's favorite food is the avocado!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

More Than a Holiday!

This past week at the sanctuary there was much excitement over the upcoming Holiday. However, Halloween was not the only thing that was going to be celebrated. This Halloween included a birthday celebration for our youngest resident, baby Nahla. Many of Nahla’s human care takers and all the interns helped Nahla celebrate her very first birthday. Being her first, Nahla was showered with presents. She got multiple pumpkins, one with a special Happy Birthday message and another carved out and stuffed with meat for her to snack on, as well as a large ball to play with.

Nahla investigating her first ever pumpkin.
Nahla is one of our many resident Tigers here at IEAS. She arrived here a few months ago after being found roaming around the streets of Conroe, Texas. Animal Control picked her up and found her owner but discovered they did not have all the proper permits. Therefore, Nahla was confiscated and was soon after given to us.

Nahla is a wonderful addition to our family here at IEAS. While we would prefer she be free in the wild, we are happy that we can give her a nice loving home at the sanctuary. For more information on Nahla or any of our other residents please visit our website and her page Nahla, along with many of the residents, are available for adoption. To learn more about this process and other ways to help please do not hesitate to contact us at (940) 433-5091 or visit