December 21st, 2011  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Your Ice Purchases at Work: The Safe Haven Rescue Zoo

December 21st, 2011  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Frog is not only part of our BMHQ ticket team, she also heads up the Playa Animal Welfare (PAW, get it?) team, assisting non-human animals on playa. She writes:

Ifaw and Kovu (rawr)

“It isn’t all that publicized but the Burning Man Organization donates proceeds from ice sales to many local Nevada charities each year. The posted list from 2010 is an example. I’m fond of one organization in particular, the Safe Haven Rescue Zoo. Located in Imlay, Nevada about two hours north of Reno, they take in big cats and other wild animals and give them a safe, healthy environment, free of the stress from their previous lives. A lot of the animals were kept as illegal pets and others were found orphaned. They always make room for those most in need, especially geriatrics and those compromised by previous substandard housing. The most common story is that of people who thought it was a great idea to have a wild animal as a pet and then realized the huge responsibility and danger involved and decided to find them a better home.

Safe Haven originally started in Illinois in 2000 but the need for more space caused founding members Lynda and Dave Sugasa to move to a 160 acre space in Imlay in 2006. Together with volunteers they have spent countless hours building enclosures to safety specifications, warm dens for the animals, a fire break around the entire compound and a small solar array (that after their recent expansion definitely needs upgrading). Pairs of interns volunteer in 4-6 month periods and help put together educational programs for local school groups who tour Safe Haven. Occasionally work groups from local mining or construction companies will come out and spend a team building day or two helping with more building and heavy machinery tasks. Throughout the year Safe Haven holds several fundraisers and some of the local industry have made great donations, but in these lean economic times they are getting by just barely. It’s difficult to stay afloat financially so far out in the country where there aren’t many visitors during the cold winter months.

The amount of food and veterinary costs involved, even for just a yearly checkup, are huge. Just the anesthesia cost to sedate one of the animals for an exam is around $800. For food, Safe Haven currently has a generous arrangement with a big box chain store several hours away. They are allowed to take meat at no charge that is at least one day over the expiration date since the store can no longer sell it to the public. This entails a day long journey of driving for pickup and bringing it all back to Safe Haven. Fuel costs are high for those heavy loads and part of the deal is that they aren’t allowed to sort the meat before taking it. Then once back at Safe Haven it is sorted it by expiration date (some can’t be used) and type of meat. The animals usually eat both chicken and beef in equal quantities. The lions and tigers alone can eat from 8-10 pounds total of meat a day.

Right now they have three Siberian tigers (one of whom is 16 years old), two each of African lions, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, foxes, one African serval, and one Canadian Lynx. They also have a desert tortoise named Mojave Moe.

Each of them has their own unique rescue story. Their names and brief stories are listed here, and you can even choose to sponsor an animal. If you are ever in that part of the state and can make it by, call ahead a few days in advance and they would be happy to give you an up close and personal tour of the rescue center. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Safe Haven on several occasions and let me tell you, being that close to those magnificent wild animals gives me a pretty amazing feeling. It makes me very happy that the Burning Man Organization is able to donate to this local wildlife refuge.”

Video: New Arrival Rescues at Safe Haven


13 Responses to “Your Ice Purchases at Work: The Safe Haven Rescue Zoo”

  1. Ian Wender Says:

    This makes me happy!!

    Report comment

  2. Erin Says:

    Awesome! So happy these animals are in a safer home :) Glad to see a portion of the funds go their way!

    Report comment

  3. laura blaylock Says:

    Hooray, Hooray, Hooray.

    Report comment

  4. Paulah Says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU!
    thank you

    Report comment

  5. Kat Says:

    So proud to have had a small part to play in the lives of these animals.

    Report comment

  6. Desert bunny Says:

    Amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Report comment

  7. Emmy MacKenzie Says:

    This made my day! Want to visit, also make a donation! Good people doing good things, thanks for posting!

    Report comment

  8. Aqua-naughty Says:

    Wow, that’s fantastic… Sparkly Pony and I elected to have our ice shift money go to charity… and this is a great and worthy one indeed. much dusty love )’(

    Report comment

  9. Marcy Mendelson Says:

    GOOD! As a 10 year burner currently in Southern Africa for the cheetah, I am elated to read this.

    YAY!

    Report comment

  10. Laura Towne Says:

    Thank you so so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Report comment

  11. Baby Show Says:

    This makes me want to buy MORE ICE!!! ;)

    Report comment

  12. Ellen Jacobson Says:

    We should thank the Burners and the ice fund for support for our Kiwanis Bike Programs for the kids in Washoe County too…. it’s very much appreciated by all of us in the Kiwanis here.

    Report comment

  13. homepage Says:

    Definitely consider that that you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be
    at the web the easiest thing to take into account of. I say to you, I definitely get
    annoyed whilst other people think about concerns that they just do not recognise about.
    You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as smartly as defined out the entire thing with no need side-effects
    , other folks can take a signal. Will likely be
    again to get more. Thank you

    Report comment

Post a Comment

The comments section will be moderated for the benefit of all readers and at the sole discretion of the editors. Our comment policy is here.