IEAS was founded in Boyd, Texas in 1988 as a 501(c)(3), nonprofit tax-exempt corporation. The inhabitants include bobcats, cougars, jaguars, leopards, lions, tigers and bears among other species. Many of the animals at IEAS are endangered or threatened in the wild, and some are among the rarest in the world. The employees and volunteers who care for the animals give their time and talents to ensure the quality of life which these animals are entitled.940-433-5091 940-433-5092 www.bigcat.org
IEAS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with the purpose and goals to provide a permanent sanctuary for exotic animals that have been abused, abandoned, neglected, confiscated, or previously owned by people unwilling or unable to provide for these magnificent beings. Additionally, IEAS educates the public through school programs, tour lectures, support for conservation programs, and public appearances about the value and worth of these sensitive, intelligent and perceptive animals, so that their future, as an important part of our world, is insured. We are committed to strengthening and promoting conservation education and other avenues to foster conservation in which we can participate. Our major goal is to give the resident animals the best quality of life we can give them in captivity through our Emotional Enrichment Program, which deals with the emotional well-being of each individual animal and its individual emotional needs. We do this to fill the need to reduce stress and agitation, give each animal the best life it can have in captivity, and by understanding what is required to achieve that goal. IEAS is the first and only sanctuary of its kind to be certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is an accredited member of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
We are proud of achieving animal care excellence in a number of ways. We maintain spacious, naturalistic habitats, nutritious diets and regular veterinary care for the animals. However, the highest quality of care requires more than just the bare essentials. Not only do we provide food and shelter for our residents, but we also care for their behavioral and emotional needs. The animals enjoy multi-level perches, ramps, pools and waterfalls, caves, tires, boomer balls, buoys, other toys, and seasonal items such as pumpkins and blocks of ice filled with food. Our unique Emotional Enrichment Program, which is overseen by our Animal Behaviorist, attempts to gain and maintain the trust of these abandoned and abused animals, as well as reduce their stress and improve their quality of life by providing a source of comfort and security. The Sanctuary has set up a code of conduct for all staff, volunteers and visitors that gives the animals the respect and dignity they so deserve. Everything from daily operations to weekend conservation education tours are arranged to keep stress on the animals to a minimum.
Not only is the sanctuary home to 64 exotic animals, but it is also a place providing education and conservation. The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary started the Intern Program in 2002. The program was a success from the beginning and has attracted students from all over the United States. The American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc. (AAZK) honored IEAS with the Certificate of Merit for Zookeeper Education (CMZE). The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals, institutions and organizations in the zoological community most actively promoting educational programs for zookeepers. Over the last nine years, more than 200 interns have completed our program and have moved on to contribute to zoos, sanctuaries and other reputable animal related facilities across the nation. Each of these inspired individuals have left here with one goal in mind-to help insure a quality life for captive animals and assist in animal welfare in the years to come. What better insurance do captive animals have for the future other than educating committed individuals that are dedicated to providing a quality life for captive wildlife by continuing education and practical experience!
IEAS has become one of the country’s leading facilities for internships working with exotic animals. The Education Program is designed to instill respect for nature and to raise awareness of the value and need to preserve these magnificent beings for generations to come. Over the course of twelve to twenty-four weeks each session, the chosen interns gain invaluable education and experience in all aspects of the Sanctuary’s operations. This program provides a unique opportunity for individuals who wish to learn about the care and management of exotic animals. Most zoos across the United States do not offer internships working with large exotic felines or with bears. Here, interns work daily with qualified keepers to care for the 48 exotic felines and the 16 resident bears who call IEAS home. College credits can and have been earned at participating universities such as Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Arlington and Michigan State University. Dr. Richard Snider, Professor and Undergraduate Director of Zoology at Michigan State University, commends IEAS as a “primary source for research and development of better programs in management and animal welfare.” All of the interns that come to IEAS leave with fundamental knowledge and experience that complements their college education and takes them to the next level in their animal welfare career pursuits.
As part of the Education Program, IEAS provides conservation education tours where people can see the animals up close and learn about animal welfare issues related to keeping exotic animals in captivity and the conservation issues affecting these animals. During the tours, they are able to read our informative conservation signs posted throughout the Sanctuary. They inform the public of the natural history and the efforts being taken to conserve each of the different species that call IEAS home. During the spring and summer seasons, a number of school groups and youth groups visit IEAS for a guided tour. It is on this tour that they learn about exotic animals and conservation issues. With the reemergence of the American black bear into Texas, this is a prime opportunity to educate the public about the importance of preserving these animals. During the tours, we educate the public how to coexist with the black bear thus helping the bears in the wild increase their chances of successful reintroduction. For once, we have the opportunity to help bring back a native animal into the state of Texas. By educating the public, the reemergence of black bears in a viable population is not a dream but a reality.
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This company on your GPS: Latitude: 33.0787326 Longitude: -97.5653027 Distance from International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, Inc. to Boyd center is 80 yards
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