Monday, February 27, 2012

Let the School Tours Begin!

Spring is just around the corner and that means a whole bunch of different things here at IEAS. One of our favorite parts is SCHOOL TOURS!

Spring is the season when lots of school from all over drive out to the Sanctuary to take a tour and meet the animals of IEAS. It is on this tour that they learn about conservation, the animals, and how important they are to our world. School tours can be some of the most rewarding parts of the Education Program here at IEAS because we see first hand the effect that the IEAS residents have on the students. Something about seeing a lion right in front of you while you learn about their natural histories and conservation needs really helps the message sink in. We know that it is a once in a lifetime experience for many of the students that visit IEAS and we are so happy to give them the best and most fulfilling tour we possibly can, in terms of both FUN and EDUCATION!

IEAS truly has so much to offer and can make a morning spent touring the Sanctuary a unique, worthwhile, interesting, and exciting experience for students.

Do you have a child whose class might be interested in coming to the Sanctuary? Have their teacher call us at 940-433-5091 for more information. Remember, kids must be at least 7 years old to come to the Sanctuary!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meet Richard!

No, Richard isn't a new animal resident. Richard is the IEAS Director!

Richard Gilbreth has served as Executive Director of the Sanctuary since January 3, 1997. When he first arrived at the Sanctuary, he had a vision of what he wanted to accomplish. He started out improving all of the habitats, making them safer for both the staff and the animals. He increased each residents quality of life in just a few months by giving them a better diet, and offering environmental enrichment.

Richard's top goal was to become part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). After hard work and determination, he reached that goal in 2001 when IEAS became the first and only Sanctuary to be certified by the AZA! After reaching that goal, Richard kept moving to try and achieve yet another goal, starting an Intern Program. The first group of interns arrived at IEAS in 2002. Since it's beginning, the Intern Program has become one of the leading programs in the animal world.

Richard continues to make IEAS the best haven for all exotic animals, and he doesn't stop there. Daily, Richard strives to teach staff, interns and volunteers what it takes to run a facility as great as IEAS. He has been an irreplaceable asset to the Sanctuary and the animal residents. He truly turned this Sanctuary around, making it an example for other sanctuaries to follow and we couldn't be more grateful to have his guidance!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Grass for the Grizzlies!

With it being such a warm day, we expected to see all four of the Grizzly bears up and about. We were right! They were wandering out of their cave this morning and by 10:30, Wendy, George, Willie, and Papa Bear were ready to eat. We gathered up four huge buckets of fresh grass and dandelions and served it up all over their habitat. They had a great time running around to find the pile of grass they thought seemed the most delicious.

The three boys, Willie, George, and Papa, didn't take long to plop right down and munch on the juicy, green grass. Wendy, on the other hand, was a bit more indecisive about which greenery looked best to her. She went from pile to pile, sometimes pausing to roll all over the ground and the grass. She finally settled down next to her brothers and started chomping down on delicious treat!

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Do Animals End Up at IEAS?

Have you ever wondered how all of the residents of the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary actually end up here? Well, there is truly a wide range of situations that have brought animals to their forever home at IEAS. From circus tigers, to lions kept as "pets," we've seen it many felines and bears come from less than ideal conditions to the Sanctuary.

Most of the exotic animals that call the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary home have been abused, abandoned, neglected, confiscated, or previously owned by individuals unwilling or unable to provide for them.

For example, Prince, Princess, Duke, and Duchess were rescued from a Coryell County property. All of the animals on the property were found living in very poor environmental conditions. They had very small and unsanitary enclosures and were malnourished. Conditions inside the dwelling were deemed dangerous for both the humans and animals. As such, all four of the exotic cats (along with over 300 dogs), were removed immediately and taken to IEAS with the help of the Houston SPCA.

Nala was malnourished and suffering from severe osteoporosis when Jim Dunlap of the Plano ISD Living Materials Center picked her up at a Dallas Animal Control Facility. At just four months of age, all of her major bones except a front leg had hairline fractures as a result of improper diet. Because of her condition, she was able to do little more than hold her head up. After months of receiving the proper care and nutrition, Nala was able to stand and walk around with a slight limp.

Big John and his companions, Barnum and Isabella, were confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Brownsville, TX because of violations of the Endangered Species Act, the Lacey Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. They were part of the Spanish Circus that was on its way back to Spain. Isabella, Big John and Barnum were cramped in a small trailer along with ponies and camels and kept in deplorable conditions. The tigers were hot, underfed, thirsty and just about lost all will to live. They were transferred to a temporary home near Brownsville until IEAS stepped in to offer these helpless animals a second chance at a better life.

These animals, along with many others, have left their pasts behind them and have truly been enjoying their new lives at IEAS. We couldn't be happier to have given them a second chance and we hope their stories will help us teach people about the value and worth of these amazing animals and how they should be protected as the wild animals they are!

Friday, February 17, 2012

How IEFS became IEAS!

Originally, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary was known as the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary, providing sanctuary for only exotic felines, not bears. However, in 2007, a very special bear changed the mission of our organization.

The Sanctuary caught wind of an American black bear who had been living in a 4 x 9 foot cage for 13 years. His tiny cage was inside a barn, with coverings on the top and sides. He had no view of the outdoors and had never, in his long life, set foot on grass. Once the authorities were told about the conditions that Bill, and a number of other animals, were living in, they immediately confiscated him. He was sent to the North Texas Humane Society until a proper home could be found for him. Some time went by and the Sanctuary heard that Bill had not yet found a forever home. We knew that we needed to rescue this special bear and give him a chance at a better life, and so, IEFS became IEAS.

When Bill first arrived at his new
home, he was in shock. It was the first time his dry, cracked pads had touched grass and dirt. He had never been outside, climbed a tree, swam in the water, or lounged in the grass. He had never even seen the sky or felt the warmth of the sun on his fur. Now, at IEAS, Bill could do all of those things anytime he chose. It took some time before Bill overcame his nerves and truly took advantage of what his new home offered him, which was entirely understandable and expected after living for 13 years in such cruel conditions, but with the hard work and care of Bill's new human friends, he has truly come into his own here at IEAS.

Bill has made amazing progress in his years at the Sanctuary, both physically and emotionally. He spends more time outdoors all the time and now loves to cool off in his pool, visit his Grizzly bear neighbors, and lounge on his perches. He is still quite shy of humans, understandably, but trusts his caretakers more every day and has even been known to visit with those he trusts most when they come to say hello.

We see the twinkle in Bill's eyes get brighter by the day and we are so happy that Bill can now live a happy life at IEAS. His story is truly one of our greatest successes and it is so gratifying to see for all who have worked hard to give him a happy, comfortable, safe, and secure life. Since Bill's rescue, IEAS has welcomed home 15 additional bears. We are happy to have extended our mission to provide sanctuary to both exotic felines AND bears, all thanks to Bill.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sending Some Love Your Way!

Today is the perfect day to show the animals how much you love them!
The feline and bear residents of the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary are surrounded by love every single day, but today, February 14th, is the day to express it! They don't want chocolates (well, the bears might), they don't need flowers (although we're sure the cats would rub all over them) - all they want is your SUPPORT! So, will YOU be their valentine? Show them your love this Valentine's Day in any way you can, from a simple visit, an adoption, or a donation. Every day, we see what YOUR love does for these animals, and you can bet they appreciate and benefit from it!

Happy Valentine's Day!
from IEAS

Friday, February 10, 2012

Get the Intern Experience

As you may have learned through our website, IEAS has become the leading facility offering animal husbandry internships with exotic felines and bears. Interns who participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity leave here with more than just knowledge about basic animal husbandry. Interns participate in all aspects of running a sanctuary such as IEAS. Additionally, Interns partake in three classes offered at IEAS: Laws and Regulations Class, Grant and Proposal Writing Class and Firearms Handling Class to mention a few. There have been a number of interns who have helped raise funds for the Sanctuary either through writing grants or proposals. Interns have received donations of paint, bleach, a weedeater, a chainsaw, and garden sprayer while others have received monetary grants from various foundations. This is a skill that will be very helpful in the animal field as many places such as ours operate soley on donations and in-kind gifts.

Interns also become aware of the Laws and Regulations regarding the private ownership of exotic animals through our Laws and Regulations Class. Each intern personally learns about their laws in their home state as they are required to look them up.

On Monday, the interns completed the Firearms Handling Class. This course teaches the basic use and safety factors of working with firearms. After a classroom setting, the interns later are able to go out into the field and put their new found knowledge to the test. This was the second time through for five of the interns, so it was more of a refresher course, but it was the first time for Kevin and Whitney.

Each of these classes is designed to benefit interns if they wish to pursue a career in the animal world. The majority of the interns that have completed the program here at IEAS have moved on to other reputable facilities to provide quality care for animals. We have former interns pursuing their animal careers at a number of major zoos across the United States such as St. Louis Zoo, Bronx Zoo, Nashville Zoo, Dallas Zoo, Denver Zoo, and Columbus Zoo. We also have interns working for animal welfare organizations such as governmental, state, and environmental agencies.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Check These Out!

We know that many of you love and truly support IEAS. There are so many ways you can help, but with the tough economic times, it's not always easy! Well, we've got something special that you can do and it won't cost you anything!

Capital One is now providing a credit card that will allow you to easily donate to IEAS every time you make a purchase with your IEAS credit card. Your first purchase will result in a $50 donation to the animals of the Sanctuary. After that, 2% of all purchases at gas stations and major grocery stores, 1% of all other purchases, and up to 10% of purchases made at select merchants will automatically be donated to IEAS. This is such an easy, automatic way to support these amazing animals!

You have three custom IEAS card designs (above) to choose from, or you can even design your own card! Shop with pride, knowing that every purchase you make with your Capital One Visa Platinum Card will help provide all of the magnificent animals at IEAS with the absolute highest quality of care possible! Be sure to let all of your animal loving friends about this wonderful opportunity!

Click HERE to read more and apply!
Won't those beautiful faces make swiping that card a little easier?