What is a Sanctuary?

The term "sanctuary" is often synonymous with safe haven, refuge, and shelter. It is typically defined as a place of refuge where abused, abandoned, neglected, impounded, orphaned or displaced animals are provided a lifetime of care.

To us, a sanctuary is so much more than that. A sanctuary is a quiet, serene place where animals in need can live out their lives with compassion, love, dignity and respect. It is a place where the animals can flourish, feel safe and learn to trust again.

A sanctuary provides safe, spacious habitats that allow for sufficient exercise. The habitat design should be a primary consideration for the care and well being of an animal. A good habitat provides more than adequate space to allow for the animal’s basic needs. A sanctuary provides for environmental and behavioral enrichment that stimulates their lives. Active animals are healthier and spend less time involved in unhealthy activities. Enrichment doesn’t just take up time during the day; it also boosts the animal’s confidence and sharpens problem-solving capabilities.

A sanctuary provides only the finest veterinary care insuring that each animal in residency receives the necessary and appropriate medical care it needs.

A sanctuary provides only the highest quality nutrition to its animals. Each animal should receive a steady diet appropriate for its nutritional needs. The sanctuary shouldn't rely solely on donations of food to provide for its animals.

The animals should be free from exploitation from commercial activities such as weddings, birthday and cocktail parties. Public access should be limited to guided tours and shy, scared rescue animals should never be forced to be on "display". Free ranging visitation should never be allowed.

Where do the animals come from?

Indigo Mountain Nature Center provides a permanent home for animals in need, regardless of their backgrounds. By far the largest group of animals has been taken in from public and private Humane Societies, Animal Shelters and Animal Control situations. Slightly over 38% of the Indigo Mountain intakes have come in due to impound situations, owner relinquishments to shelters, inability to pass behavioral evaluations, and running at large. Another 9% of the animals have come from small, independent rescue organizations.

Where do they come from?
Humane Society and Shelters 38
Owner Surrender 22
Breeders 14
Sanctuaries 14
Rescue Organizations 9
Animal Control 3

Some came to us directly from backyard breeders who admitted they were in over their heads and had few options for placement of their animals. Still others came to Indigo Mountain from other sanctuaries or rescue centers as they needed to reduce their numbers, where closing down due to economic hardships or had behavioral issues. Twenty-two percent of the animals at our center came from individuals who could no longer care for their animals or simply no longer wanted them. Some were the victims of life changes such as divorce or re-marriage, moves, or displaced due to the birth of children. Many of the cats came to us due to inappropriate litter box use.

Here are a few of the organizations that we have worked with:

  • Ark-Valley Humane Society
  • Bengal Rescue Network
  • Best Friends Animal Society
  • C.L.A.W.S.
  • Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
  • Dumb Friends League
  • Hedgehog Welfare Society
  • Humane Society of Boulder Valley
  • Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region
  • Leadville/Lake County Animal Shelter
  • Mesa County Animal Services
  • Monroe County Animal Management
  • Mountain Vista Wildlife Park
  • Nebraska Humane Society
  • Park County Animal Control
  • Prairie Wind Animal Refuge
  • Pryor Animal Control
  • Purebred Cat Breed Rescue
  • Sandy Animal Services
  • Table Mountain Animal Center
  • Teller County Regional Animal Shelter
  • Underdog Rescue

Why Not Release it to the Wild?

First, in our state it is illegal to release an animal that is born in captivity to the wild. Some natural habitats across the nation are being threatened by the release of non-native species. Second, releasing exotic animals in a nonnative habitat typically means certain death to that animal. Most alternative or exotics pets don't know how to hunt or forage for food. They are ill equipped for life in the wild.

Visiting the Sanctuary

We receive numerous requests for tours of our facility each year however, we are not open to the public for visitation. This is primarily due to some of the animals that we house. Many are very shy and scared of people. Having an influx of people puts some of them into a stressed state so we have made the decision to remain closed to the public at this time. We hope to rearrange some of the habitats in the future so that a limited number of small, guided tours will be available to the public.

We know it is not like experiencing the "real thing", but please visit our Virtual Tour.

If you would like to volunteer to help the animals please check out our Volunteer section.


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