Friday, May 6, 2016


At the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, conservation education tours are given to educate the public about various exotic species. IEAS is home to 74 residents; 30 bears, 37 felines, and 7 other exotics, including wolves, coati, ring-tailed lemur, and capybara. Before tours begin, guests meet in the gift shop where they can look at various merchandise, see images of current residents and learn about adoption packets. All proceeds go to the residents at IEAS!

Come early to look around the gift shop!

During tours, guests are taken around the Sanctuary with a staff member, intern or volunteer. A typical tour will last around two hours and guest will walk roughly 1.3 miles. It is a great way to exercise, explore the outdoors and learn about conservation and natural species history. As an intern, I look forward to educating the public and observe the residents' behaviors. Each time I give a tour, the animal residents are doing something different; no two tours are the same! It gives me the chance to learn more about each of their unique behaviors. My career goal is to become an exotic veterinarian. Exposure to various species, their natural history, conservation and behaviors are a fantastic way to strengthen my knowledge about exotic species.

Tour guests on their way to the next habitat.

I like to observe our four grizzly bears’ behaviors. Wendy, Willy, Papa Bear, and George came to IEAS in 2007 from a facility that believed their two older grizzly bears were unable to reproduce.  Once the female gave birth, the facility could not afford to build them a proper enclosure or care for them. Quickly, the four of them adapted to their new environment here at IEAS and love playing with each other. On tours, the grizzlies will play with toys, wrestle, lay on perches, bath in their pool or walk around their habitat. Guests of all ages enjoy watching these playful, cute, and goofy animals!

The grizzlies taking time away from playing to pose for a family portrait.

Another tour favorite is Popeye, the ring-tailed lemur.  You can find him bouncing, climbing, and vocalizing during tours. He is quite the showoff and loves the attention tour guests provide for him! Popeyes' habitat is located in the prime location for his personality. As soon as a tour group reaches his habitat, he begins leaping around. Immediately, tour guests notice Popeye rubbing his forearms on branches. Ring-tailed lemurs have scent glands located on their forearms. By rubbing items in his habitat, Popeye is putting his scent on everything and claiming it as his!

One of the rare occasions where Popeye stood still for a photo.

Stop by IEAS to experience your own tour and learn more about these amazing animals! Tours are given at 11 am Monday-Sunday with an additional tour on Saturdays at 3 pm. Children seven years and up are admitted and more information can be found at Read our tour testimonials and we look forward to seeing you soon!  

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