Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Donate Your Christmas Tree!

Seasonal enrichment is one of the IEAS animals' favorite things, and it's time for the Christmas season to bring trees to the animals! In the next few weeks, staff at the Sanctuary is hoping to provide YOUR Christmas trees as enrichment for the animal residents of IEAS. The big cats love to pounce on, throw, and destroy these prickly evergreen toys, while smaller cats prefer to sniff and rub all over them, letting the needles comb through their fur. The bears, on the other hand, prefer to use these piney limbs as bedding in their caves!

Once your ornaments come down, your tree can make someone else's Christmas complete! 


You can drop your Christmas tree off at the Sanctuary (located in Boyd, TX - click HERE for directions).

If you live in the area, we'll pick it up!

We will be doing three days of tree pick ups: 
Tuesday, December 30th
 Friday January 2nd
Tuesday, January 6th. 

If you'd like your tree picked up, send us a message on Facebook (click here to visit our page) telling us which day you'd like it picked up and your address. 

We will be picking up your tree sometime between 8 AM and 3 PM. 
Your tree must be out by the curb, free of ornaments, and taken out of the tree stand

Unfortunately, if we can't find your house, we may miss your tree! 
We apologize in advance if this happens!

We've had so many generous people donate their Christmas trees in the past few years, and we can't wait for this year's donations! Thank you in advance, and Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About #GivingTuesday!

What happens when Black Friday and 
Cyber Monday are over? Giving Tuesday!

Razoo, an online source for nonprofit fundraising is sponsoring a day to give back - #GivingTuesday! On Giving Tuesday, December 2, donations from supporters like you will be tallied all day long and there will be prizes available to the leaders!

Top #GivingTuesday Fundraiser prizes will go to those who raise the most funds as part of their #GivingTuesday project. The Top Nonprofit Organization prizes will go to the all time fundraising nonprofit leaders on Razoo!

There will also be Golden Ticket prizes throughout #GivingTuesday awarded to both participating donors and to nonprofits. 

There will be six $1,000 Power Hour Golden Tickets (6am, 8am, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 10pm). These will be awarded to the nonprofit that receives the most donations at the end of the preceding hour. 

Twelve $375 Golden Tickets will be awarded to lucky donors drawn at random throughout the day!

Click HERE to make your donation and help 
IEAS raise money on #GivingTuesday!

Remember, your donation must be made between 12:01 am (eastern time) and 11:59 pm (eastern time)!


Friday, November 21, 2014

NEWSFLASH: Tune in Tonight!

Tune in tonight at 9:30 PM (central time),
as Fox 4 News runs their Lone Star Adventures segment,
featuring the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary!

We are so excited to be featured on this segment of MyFoxDFW, 
and we hope that you'll all tune in for information on our recent 
bear rescue and all of the IEAS animals! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pumpkins Are Coming!

It's that time of year again! Pumpkin season is here, and that means the animals have lots of seasonal enrichment to look forward to. Our daily produce runs have already begin to yield a pumpkin here and there, and we can't wait to see how many are donated to the animals this season!

If YOU want to donate a pumpkin to IEAS, you can drop it off at our office anytime! Want to decorate with it first? That's fine! When you're finished with the pumpkin, it will still be the perfect play thing for a cat or snack for a bear!

Keep an eye on our Facebook page to see pictures and 
videos of the animals enjoying their seasonal enrichment! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Meet the Fall 2014 Interns!

The five newest members of the IEAS team have arrived are just completing their initial two weeks training period. They've come from all over the country and will be here for three or six months soaking up as much as they can about animal care at IEAS! Check out their bios below to meet them all! 

Alexa Swenson

My name is Alexa Swenson. I'm from Fairfax Station, Virginia and graduated from Old Dominion University with a BS in biology. Throughout high school and my first two years of college, I worked as an assistant at a veterinary clinic. I was also a volunteer at Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program because of my love for horses. Throughout my years at Old Dominion, I volunteered at The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk and worked in their Africa section as well as with their program animals. Here at IEAS, I hope to further my knowledge of big cats and bears in order to achieve my goal of becoming an animal behaviorist. After my internship, I plan on getting my MS in an animal science program.

Amanda Arnold

My name is Amanda Arnold and I’m from Temperance, Michigan. I have recently graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Throughout the past couple of years, I have volunteered and interned at zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers such as the Toledo Zoo, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, The A.R.K. (Association to Rescue Kritters) Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the Tucson Wildlife Center. Currently, I am pursuing a career in animal husbandry and hope to get a job someday either as an animal keeper or wildlife rehabilitator. 

Kairee Glantz

My name is Kairee Glantz, and I am from Wayland, NY. I went to the Rochester Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. I have volunteer experience at the Seneca Park Zoo where I performed supervised keeper duties, and I hope to one day become a keeper myself at a zoo or a sanctuary like this that supports large mammals. 

Mary Meixner

My name is Mary Meixner and I am from Ashland, Ohio. I graduated from Malone University in May of 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Zoo & Wildlife Biology and a minor in Psychology. I have previously volunteered in the Malone University Serpentarium caring for reptiles and amphibians, and I have been an intern at the Akron Zoo. Before accepting this internship, I worked as an Interpreter at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and as an animal care technician at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. After this internship, I plan to continue working in the field of animal care. I would also like to participate in animal rescue and rehabilitation. 

Christina Schmitt

Hello! My name is Christina Schmitt, I am from Maribel (near Green Bay) Wisconsin.  I graduated in May of 2013, from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, with a major in Biology and minor in Environmental Science.  I previously volunteered at the Green Bay’s NEW Zoo and interned at the NEW Zoo, Animal Gardens of Lake Geneva, and North West Trek Wildlife Park in Tacoma Washington.  At Trek I gained experiences working with small mammals and birds.  I have a passion for animal education and animal behavior.  After this internship, I hope to get a job working with members of the weasel family and/or large cats at an AZA facility.  

 Find out more about our Intern Program by clicking here

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Uh oh! The Grizzlies are at it again!

Well, the Grizzlies are at it again! Wendy, Willie, George, and Papa use their toys until they destroy them every time, and their most recent toy casualty was their plastic spool!

We're calling on you, our supporters, to see if anyone would like to donate a new one to these four awesome bears! This was one of their favorite toys, so we'd love to have it replaced ASAP!  

Here is a link to find the product we need. 
It'd be perfect if the toy was ordered by Friday!
Feel free to pick any color you want!! The bears aren't picky! :)

Our shipping addresses:

PO Box 637
Boyd, TX 76023
(for USPS)


3901 E. Highway 114
Boyd, TX 76023
(for FedEx and UPS)

We, and the bears, so appreciate your help!
We're confident that they can't wait to get 
their claws into a brand new toy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Starting the Day Early!

Our days always start out very early here at IEAS! We are always sure to feed as soon as the sun comes up, when the day is at it's coolest and the animals are most active (particularly in the summer time).  Because of this, the meal preparation has to start between 5:30 and 6:00 AM.

The morning meal preparation includes the diets of the all of the felines residents of IEAS - bears will eat later. Typically, two interns will come in to take care of the first part of prep which is divvying out approximately 300 pounds of meat (Triple A Brand meat - specially formulated for exotic animals) into more than 40 pans according to our diet chart. Poundages must be accurate to ensure a proper and nutritious diet, so this task takes some practice! About 30 minutes into this process, the rest of the interns join and add supplements to the meat. This includes Missing Link (a vitamin supplement), calcium, and any veterinary prescribed medications.  All of these supplements are mixed into the meat so the cats don't even know they are there. Then, at about 7:00 AM, we head out to start the day! 

Suffice it to say, meat prep gets everyone up and moving in the morning. It's definitely a busy and messy process, and it sets the tone for the rest of the day! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Meet Tommy and Tuffy!

Just a few days ago, the Sanctuary welcomed home two American black bear cubs from Alaska. Tommy and Tuffy are almost 6 months old, and came from the wild, where they were left orphaned after the loss of their mother.  Wildlife officials were forced to euthanize the mother bear after she became a potential threat to the public as she repeatedly ventured into heavily populated areas in "trash related incidents." For more information, visit the news article by KTVA Alaska.

Fortunately, her cubs didn't suffer the same fate and will spend the rest of their lives at IEAS. Eventually, the two boys will be introduced to Timmy, as their ages and sizes make them highly compatible. It is our hope that these three can grow up together, learning from each other as they would have learned from mom in the wild.

In the meantime, Tommy and Tuffy are acclimating well to their new home. They've been spotted pouncing, climbing, and playing together in their temporary habitat. Soon enough, with the help of the Emotional Enrichment Program, these boys will be confident, independent cubs with a wonderful life ahead of them!

We'll be sure to post updates on these growing boys!
Stay tuned on our Blog and Facebook for the most up-to-date news! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Surprise in the Mail!

We got a wonderful surprise in the mail just a few days ago! Mrs. Cook's 5th grade classes from Boyd Intermediate School took it upon themselves to raise and donate $123 to the Sanctuary! 

They even included a booklet outlining their efforts:

"Why did we choose you? 
          We want to give you the money to help buy the equipment needed to care for the animals. We appreciate you taking your time to care for these animals.  
How We Chose You 
          All three of Mrs. Cook's classes researched different charities in Wise County last fall, and voted for the one we liked best. All three classes chose your organization so we could help raise money for your charity all year long. 
With The Money You Could 
          Food for the cats and bears, Water for them, New toys for all of them, New food and water bowls, New land 
We appreciate you! Thank you for helping wild animals. I'm sure if they could talk they would thank you so much.  
We hope you make their lives better by... 
          Making sure they have lots of food and water, Making sure their cages are clean, They can have new cages, toys, and new food and water bowls."

It was so heartwarming to receive this envelope full of cards and artwork from these wonderful kids. We are honored that they chose IEAS as the organization they wanted to raise money for, and we are sure that the animals would thank them if they could!  

A random selection of the notes we received:

Thank you SO much 
to Mrs. Cook's 5th graders! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

All in One!

We've had so many new fundraising opportunities 
recently, we thought it might be easier if we 
put them all in one place, so here they are!

Amazon Smile

Do you like to shop on Amazon? Well, now all of your shopping can raise money for IEAS! By linking your Amazon account to IEAS through Amazon Smile, they will donate a percentage of each of your purchases to the Sanctuary! Click this link to select IEAS as your charity of choice, OR you can visit Amazon Smile directly and search for us (you will have to search for International Exotic Feline Sanctuary). Please keep in mind that now, instead of going to Amazon.com to shop, you'll aways need to go to www.smile.amazon.com! Same shopping, more supporting!


Charity Wicks

Charity Wicks has teamed up with IEAS, and now we are selling collectible candles, each featuring a unique scent and a beautiful picture of a Sanctuary resident! A portion of the proceeds from each candle sale will go to the IEAS animals! Click here to start shopping! 



Purchase a bracelet, necklace, or ring from the Sanctuary's Brave Page, and $10 will go directly to the IEAS animals! There are lots of beautiful pieces to choose from, and Bravelets has even added new styles recently! Click here to check them out! 



IEAS has a new online gift shop! A portion of each sale from this online Zazzle shop will go to the Sanctuary, and you can customize your purchase! We've created dozens of items with beautiful pictures of the Sanctuary residents, but you can request certain animals on particular items that you want, and we'll do our best to make it happen! Click here to start shopping!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Letters from School!

Last week, we had a group of students from Henrietta Elementary School come out to the Sanctuary to meet and learn about the animals. They were a wonderful group, eager to take in as much as they could, and we were so happy to have them!

We just received an envelope stuffed with letters from one of the classes who visited. It's amazing to read about how much fun the kids in Ms. Simmons' class had, who their favorites were, and how much they learned. We'd love to have the group back out again!

Thanks Henrietta Elementary School! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Water Weekend Wrap Up!

The 4th Annual "Quench Our Thirst" Water Weekend was a wonderful success! We had over 100 visitors come out with cases of water totaling almost 1,500 bottles! These bottles will be a great help in supplying a cold beverage to summer tour goers here at IEAS. 

One of a number of stacks of water we collected this past weekend!
Thanks to everyone who came out to visit the animals and brought cases of water. We genuinely appreciate all of your support!

P.S. At IEAS, we make recycling a top priority. Each bottle disposed of at the Sanctuary will be recycled, and we hope you do the same! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Growing Up Fast!

We know many of you, like us, fell instantly in love with our three youngest residents - Chewy, Saber, and Odin - so, we wanted to give you an all encompassing update of their recent growth and progress!


Chewy is a bundle of fur and energy! She's grown considerably, weighing an estimated 140 pounds at the present compared to her initial 30 pounds. Her confidence and independence have been growing by the day. She proudly struts around her habitat, playing with her favorite toy - a blue plastic donut with a red ball that spins around the inside. She will throw the toy all over, spin it around on her legs, sit in the middle of it, or pounce on it in her pool. It's very entertaining to watch this happy girl enjoy playtime with this particular toy! When it comes time for a nap, Chewy prefers her highest perch. She climbs up her ramps and tucks herself in, allowing us only a tiny glimpse of fur sticking up over the edge of her perch. She is definitely content and comfy up there!  Chewy has been benefiting immensely from the Sanctuary's Emotional Enrichment Program, finding security and trust in her caretakers and using them to grow into a confident, self-assured young brown bear. One thing that definitely hasn't changed - Chewy's favorite food is still grapes!


Speaking of growing, have you seen Saber lately? We can't believe how big this boy is! Saber is slowly transitioning from playful cub to mature tiger, and each day with him is a new adventure. At almost 11 months old, Saber still loves to spend his days playing, but one of his favorite activities has become spending quality time with his two legged friends. His warm chuffs are never in short supply, as this affectionate boy enjoys little more than spreading the love. This endearing trait always leaves us smiling after a visit. Aside from spending time with his friends, Saber's new favorite pastime is splashing around in his pool. We just filled it for the first time a few weeks ago, and to say that Saber had fun would be the understatement of the century. Saber was splashing, twirling, pouncing, and playing in the water for hours. He is still in his pool every day, always soaking wet! The Emotional Enrichment Program has already helped Saber grow leaps and bounds since his arrival, and we continue to see the positive effects it is having on him each and every day!


Last but not least - Odin! Odin has matured so much over the past few months, both in appearance and personality. His mane is really starting to come in now, and we are spotting little bits of black fur around his neck and front legs indicating that he really is growing up! He is filling out and getting more adventurous with his new found strength. He recently found that he was, in fact, fully capable of jumping up onto his highest perch, much to the chagrin of the tree he was then able to reach. He's been tearing at the branches and fighting the tree ever since! We're still waiting on Odin's first lion call, but we're sure it won't be long. Every time Shauna, Gedi, and Nala start calling, his ears perk up to attention. Soon enough, he will be chiming in! In the meantime, he's lounging around just learning how to be a lion. He loves the time he spends with his caretakers as part of the Emotional Enrichment Program, as it really nurtures his social instincts. It's amazing to see how much confidence this boy has gained!

Friday, April 11, 2014


It's that time of year! We're seeing bears popping up and popping out of their winter dens, nooks, and nests! Most of the IEAS bears were relatively active this winter, wandering from cave to cave, grabbing a bite to eat on the way, but a few of our Ursidae* residents took a more instinctual approach to the cold weather.  Greta and Bertha for example both dug their own dens for the first time EVER this winter.

At 4 years old, Greta did us proud. She spent several months tucked into her very own, paw-made den within her five-acre Bear Orphanage habitat. It held up wonderfully throughout the winter, proving her abilities! Just a few days ago, Greta made her first appearance, climbing up the tree directly outside of her den. She napped there for a day or so, then took to finding the boys, Scooter and Scamp. They were happy to greet Greta, but more eager to check out her now vacant den! They ran right over to investigate and liked it so much that they took a nap there while Greta went back to her favorite summer tree!

We were quite surprised to see that Bertha had dug her own den for her first winter at IEAS. This brown bear lived the first three years of her life in the concrete "bear pits" of North Carolina. Her paws at never touched the grass or the dirt, let alone been afforded the opportunity to dig. Even still, Bertha's instincts were strong and she dug an impressive den where she spent the colder months! She has been popping in and out for the past few weeks, grabbing a bite to eat and exploring her habitat with Aggie, but retiring back to her favorite spot when nap time came around! 

We're so happy to see all of the Sanctuary's bear faces saying "hello" to us after the long winter. Bear Orphanage is bustling once again! 

***BONUS: Check out this video of Aggie & Bertha's progress with a sneak peak into Bertha's den!

*Mammal family that all bears belong to.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Warmer Weather On It's Way!

Warmer weather is officially on it's way. Actually... it's here! We've already had a few days in the 90s here in Texas, but we were more than ready for it. With the rain that we've been experiencing here and there, we are preparing for all of the weed eating and mowing on the horizon!

We just went through our stock of equipment for maintaining the Sanctuary grounds, and it doesn't look great right now. Most of our equipment is used, aged, and has been through years of service. In fact, we have several weed eaters and mowers that are barely functional or completely out of commission. We're hoping that this year will be our chance to upgrade our fleet a bit!

If you or anyone you know has a weed eater or mower (we REALLY need a riding lawn mower!) that you've replaced with a newer model but is still in good condition, we'd love to take it off your hands! If you have any questions about what we are looking for, please feel free to give us a call at 940-433-5091 or e-mail us at education@bigcat.org, but remember - we're not picky! We can even arrange to PICK UP the equipment if you live in the area!

Thanks for thinking of IEAS and the animals! We hope that you'll all be out to visit the grounds and, of course, your furry friends at the Sanctuary!