What is a Sanctuary?

A wildlife sanctuary provides a safe, life-long home and the residents are treated with dignity, compassion, and respect from the day the arrive until their end of days. Our sanctuary exists for the welfare of our wildlife. We are committed to the highest level of care for our residents.

What do I do if i find an injured animal?

We are not a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility, and we can’t accept wild animals directly. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and/or USDA must approve all animals brought to our facility.

If you've discovered an injured mammal and you live in Montana, please contact Montana Wild (406-444-9944).

If you live in Montana or Wyoming and you’ve found an injured bird, either contact Ironside Bird Rescue in Cody (307-527-7027) or the Montana Raptor Conservation Center in Bozeman (406-585-1211).

I found this bird. Can i just keep it?

Generally, no. It’s legal to keep pigeons, starlings, house sparrows, and starlings as pets. All other wild birds are illegal to possess unless you have appropriate permits. There are state laws, federal laws, and international treaties that control individuals keeping birds.

WHY DIDN’T I see some of the animals?

Animals, like people, sometimes need time alone. Chronic stress can cause serious health issues in animals, so we’ve provided all of them with places to take themselves off of display. We love to show off our residents, and we hope you get a chance to see all of them, but their health and safety is of paramount importance, and that sometimes means we have to give them a chance to hide.

Why do some of the animals look old or INJURED?

Because some of our animals are old or injured. As a sanctuary, we don’t have the option to select young, pretty animals. Many of our animals have lived far beyond their life expectancy in the wild, and many of them came here because of serious injuries.

Safe environments, careful dietary control, regular healthcare, behavioral enrichment, stress management, and many other factors keep our animals healthy and happy for a long time. Old animals will slow down, though. They don’t move like the young, strong ones. Animals with serious injuries need extra care and sometimes don’t look as good as their healthy counterparts.

What time do the animals eat?

In the wild, animals don’t eat on a fixed schedule. Studies show that if we replicate those conditions in captivity, mixing up the diet and the schedule every day, it keeps the animals more engaged. When combined with a variety of enrichment activities, these variable feeding times make our animals healthier, both physically and mentally.

How do Animals End Up At YWS?

This is a question best answered by an episode of our podcast, Two Minutes in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.