What Keepers Do
Keepers of the Wild is an accredited, top-rated 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting abused, neglected, abandoned, and retired captive wildlife, providing the best standard of care, and helping enforce humane treatment of all animals through education and public awareness.
We are accredited by the American Sanctuary Association (ASA) and work with many reputable animal welfare agencies, including PETA. We also hold current licensure from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Arizona Game & Fish.
As Keepers, we seek to alleviate all animals' suffering and strive to help eliminate the use of wild animals as pets and their exploitation in show business. The preservation and protection of wildlife and the environment are paramount to our goals.
To help fulfill this mission, our three-fold goals are:
1) Set new standards for the ethical treatment of exotic and wild animals through public education and legislative measures.
2) Educate the public about exotic and wild animals.
3) Advocate for the protection of animals from illegal breeding and pet trades that perpetuate an endless cycle of exploitation and creation of surplus animals.
Jonathan Kraft, a former Las Vegas illusionist, used exotic animals such as tigers and lions in his shows on the famed Vegas Strip. Jonathan loved his animals and gave them the utmost care but as time went on he felt something wasn't right... He saw the way performing animals had to stay in cages for hours every day waiting for their 15 minutes on stage, witnessed abusive industry training methods as well as cruel breeding practices, and soon realized a performer's life is no life for wild animals that belong in nature. Something had to change.
In 1995 Jonathan put his Vegas production on hiatus and gave up show business to rescue and provide a forever home to captive wildlife while fulfilling his mission to educate the public about the ecological and animal welfare issues we face today. Examples include education about the illegal wildlife trade, captive breeding practices, poaching, and habitat encroachment, to name but a few of the human-induced issues that currently threaten our world's wildlife populations.
25 years and hundreds of rescues later, Jonathan Kraft has become a trusted animal behaviorist and activist. Kraft and Keepers of the Wild have been featured in numerous television shows and articles worldwide such as Smithsonian and PBS.
Over the years, the nature park has grown into a lush 175-acre home to over 140 current rescued wild animals in beautiful Valentine, Arizona along Historic Route 66. Residents include but are not limited to big cat species, bears, wolves, primates, and various indigenous wildlife such as cougars, bobcats, coyotes, and birds.
Where do the animals we rescue come from?
We work on a global scale to rescue captive wildlife in need. Each animal that arrives at our sanctuary is either surrendered by a private owner, legally confiscated and placed with us by a court or USDA order or is placed with us by Arizona Game & Fish.
OUR FACILITY DOES NOT BUY, SELL, TRADE, LEASE, BREED, OR ALLOW PUBLIC INTERACTION WITH THE ANIMALS. NO EXCEPTIONS.
All of our rescued residents reside in large natural outdoor habitats that are typically acres in size and are not forced into an exhibition-type setting. This means the animals have access to and from their habitat and shaded den areas, as well as possess the freedom to roam, hide, and play as they please. When visiting the sanctuary, you may or may not see some of the animals because they choose to hide as they would in the wild.
The animals receive top nutrition and medical care based on their individual needs, have access to our onsite, fully-licensed Santiago Animal Clinic & Education Center, and enjoy daily enrichment activities, all with the physical and mental welfare of the animals as the primary focus of everything we do.