Denali was purchased by a military service member from a man who claimed to have purchased a litter of 4 or 5 cubs from a zoo. Denali quickly grew to be double the size of a domestic cat and, when he was one year old, his family realized they could no longer keep him in their home. They found a new home for him at a nearby sanctuary but the sanctuary was unaccredited and ended up having more animals than it could properly care for. The Lions Tigers & Bears team found and transported over 200 animals from this sanctuary – including Denali – to new forever homes at sanctuaries across the United States.
Denali’s story is unfortunately a common one when it comes to private exotic animal ownership and is a perfect example of why private ownership of exotics does not work out for either the owners or the animals. When a private owner can no longer care for their exotic animal, it is up to a sanctuary to come in and rescue the animal and provide it with care for the remainder of the animal’s life. But the reality of the exotic animal trade is that there are more animals that need homes than there are sanctuaries that can care for them. Many of these animals face being sold to breeders, roadside zoos, or the more grim reality of canned hunting ranches or euthanasia. The “lucky” ones often endure an immense amount of stress from being removed from their homes and having to adjust to each new place they are moved to before they are permanently placed with a reputable sanctuary.
But Denali’s story has a happy ending. He has a new home here at Lions Tigers & Bears and we are committed to caring for him for the remainder of his life.