In situations where wild animals cannot be released back into their natural environment, it is essential to find a facility that can cater to their highly specialized needs. The Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary is dedicated to providing consistent, quality care for our amazing animals for the rest of their lives. In keeping with our mission, all of our animal residents are native to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, so they don’t have to adapt to an unfamiliar climate. Whether they’re here because they were orphaned, injured, or habituated, they help us with our conservation education work and bring joy into the lives of thousands that come to visit them every year.
Cooper was found as a kit and raised by a family. Being smart animals, raccoons are very susceptible to habituation, so Cooper could not return to the wild but is very sociable with our keepers. In warmer months, he loves hanging out in his tire swing and fishing for minnows that keepers put in the raccoon pool. In the cold, he’ll squish into his winter box.
Dahlia was transferred to YWS in 2021 from the private facility where she was born. She is black and silver with a white-tipped tail, called a melanistic red fox or silver fox. When Dahlia joined our red fox, Clare, in a shared enclosure, the two began to enrich each other’s lives, and they now play and snooze together. Dahlia often caches food around the enclosure for snacking later.
Edgar flew into a power transformer and lost the use of one wing. After treatment, he is almost fully flighted but too accustomed to human care to go back to the wild. Edgar often calls to wild ravens and has been observed trading food with wild ravens. He has been at YWS longer than any other resident.
As a fledging, Hawkeye received an injury that resulted in the loss of her left eye. Because of the way it affects her balance and the precision of her movements, she cannot be released to the wild. But at YWS, she navigates her personal space very well and enjoys pulling her favorite food (rats!) out of cardboard tubes and boxes -- an enrichment activity provided by our animal care staff.
Lisa arrived at YWS with a wing injury that left her non-flighted and non-releasable. Her enclosure is set up so she and her roommate, Bart, can use the entire space without flying. Lisa is cautious toward keepers. She and Bart like shredding paper books, and she especially enjoys picking pomegranates apart.
Lola was found as a tiny pup with her brother, Scout. Mistaken for domestic dogs, they were taken to an animal shelter, then a wildlife rehabilitator, and finally YWS when they were determined non-releasable. Lola often follows Scout’s lead, but she’s always ready to stick her face into a box or a pumpkin to get the treat inside.
Luna was born in Nebraska and came from a ranch in Roberts that became unable to care for its bison and brought Luna to YWS (bison cannot be freely released into the wild). She became a welcome companion to our older bison, Speedy. Particular about seasonal hair care, Luna scratches herself on the posts in her enclosure to remove winter fur, and she rolls in dirt when it’s hot.
Lurch was found with a wing injury and taken to Ironside Bird Rescue, Cody, WY. After surgery to attempt repair, he was still unable to fully extend his wing, deemed non-releasable, and brought to YWS. Lurch and his fellow turkey vulture Uncle Fester share an enclosure and generally get along. Because the two look so much alike, our animal care staff use their eye colors, which are distinct and can be used for identification.