Keila is a female Moluccan Cockatoo. She came to us after having at least 3 other owners and she had come from a house where domestic violence was prevalent so she verbally repeated the fights. The first several weeks we felt like we were in someone’s living room where someone was about to get beat up. Her words were graphic, threatening and fearful but to her they were only words. She simply repeated what she heard. After over a year’s worth of “therapy” Keila no longer repeats these fights. She is one of our most loved birds by anyone that sees her and is known as our resident diva.
Tecumseh is a mountain lion that was the product of someone that decided to breed their “pet” cougars and sell the babies as pets for profit. He was born in 1998 and pulled from his mother less than 24 hours after birth to be hand reared. The idea was to take him to auction at just a few weeks old when he was still too cute for the unsuspecting purchaser to realize how big he would get and how fast. A group of volunteers raised enough money to buy off the breeders and keep him from going to auction so they donated him to Cooper’s Rock Mountain Lion Sanctuary. It was discovered that he had been raised on chicken flavored (human) baby food. His nutritional deficiencies nearly killed him and he was lucky to live past a year old. He spent the next 13 years in the mountains of West Virginia with a luxurious enclosure. Due to lack of support, CRMLS decided to find new homes for all of their big cats and we were fortunate to get not only Tecumseh but an enclosure and perimeter fence to go with him. Tecumseh passed away at Safe Haven in February of 2012 due to tumors on the heart and lungs. Tecumseh left such an impression on everyone that met him that he is represented in our logo.
Lenny is type of monkey called a Java Macaque. He was hand raised by a woman in South Carolina but she was later forced to get rid of him due to government regulations. Life began for him the same way most ‘pet’ primates do. He was purchased at a very young age, only days old in some cases, so that he could be hand raised to bond with the owner. Most private primate owners do not have professional experience with this and raise the monkey as though it were a child. The problem is that a primate baby is not the same as a human baby and inevitably the primate grows up to be aggressive, even to the owner that raised it. Once here it was quite obvious that Lenny does not know how to be a monkey. Attempts at enrichment to encourage his natural behaviors have been a challenge but he has made great improvements.
Bertha is an albino Burmese Python that came to us extremely obese. Her curves were clearly defined from being so overweight, which means you could easily see where her tail started. Her previous owners were afraid of her so the only care she received was food thrown into her cage. She was left in inches deep of waste material. Bertha’s first year here she ate no more than 2 large rats (although we had offered more). She has lost the weight and is now down to proper size. Once she is out of her enclosure she is well behaved and has become a favorite of many people.
Phoenix is a Green-winged Macaw whose original owner moved and could not take him with her so she gave him to some acquaintances. He ended up getting sick and came to us near death. After 4 months of recovery the (second) owners did not want him back. Phoenix is the inspiration to start Safe Haven & Educational Adventures.
Luke’s is an American Alligator whose original owners contacted us to help them determine what was wrong with their sick lizards. They believed they had alligator lizards and had 2 of them living on sand and eating salad mix. We told them that they in fact had American Alligators that needed to be in water, were carnivores and were illegal to own as pets. They were both signed over to Safe Haven at only a year old and were named Bo and Luke by our volunteers. Unfortunately, the malnourishment was so bad that Bo passed away and Luke’s growth has been badly stunted. He did not grow at all for about 3 years.
Animals are intelligent, fascinating members of our world and have an important place in the delicate balance of existence for this planet. They deserve to be respected, and to be treated kindly and responsibly whether in the wild, or in our personal lives.
Most of our animals come from private owners that have learned that their animal is more than they can handle. They will spend the rest of their lives with us and we use some of them as abassadors for our programs. Many of the animals require training and rehabiliation before we can use them with the general public. We currently have nearly 250 animals in residence. We have highlighted for you some of our most remarkable animals. Some of them you may see at your next program and some have passed away but have left a legacy that we would like to share.
Dakota is a Bobcat that came to us at about 8 months of age. He has been purchased from a breeder specifically to have as a pet. He not only had been neutered (a good thing) but he also had a collar on. He had been living in a very small dog run when the owners realized he did not make a good house cat. Dakota’s owners were moving and could not take him.
Bardou is a coyote that was found as a tiny pup in the front yard of a house on a very busy road. By the time he was brought to us he was lethargic and dehydrated. He was only about 2 weeks and by the time we got him well he was already imprinted on humans. He would have to spend the rest of his life in captivity in an educational facility. We decided to raise him ourselves and get him trained exactly as we want to and do it to the level we want so that he would be a wonderful addition for educational purposes.
Ginger was a Fennec Fox that spent most of her life with the same owner. She had to move to North Carolina because of other life circumstances but unfortunately was unable to keep Ginger with her. When Ginger arrived she was over 11 years old and was missing one of her back legs. She was very quick to get around and you would never know that she was missing a limb. Ginger warmed her way into the hearts of everyone here at Safe Haven and very quickly became the favorite for everyone. Ginger passed away of age related disease a few years after her arrival. She is greatly missed by many people and made a huge impression for only being here a short time.
Pearl and Opal are Prairie Dogs that came from a woman who purchased them to be pets for her granddaughter who was very young. One of the Prairie Dogs was much more shy and had been biting people. The child got tired of them as pets and left them alone. The Grandmother gave them to us while they were still young, at 6 months old. After some training they are both now very happy and enjoy attention from everyone.
Loki was a Blue and Gold Macaw that had a beautiful, gentle spirit. Unfortunately, Loki had severe feather loss and damage. When we went to pick her up from her original owner she was left in a dark basement and had been fed nothing but sunflower seeds. She ended up with a severe nutritional deficiency that likely lead to her feather loss. A few of her feathers grew back while she was with us and she was an ambassador for many years about how to properly care for your animals. Loki passed away in early 2020. She will forever be in our hearts.
Diablo was a Green Iguana, despite the fact that is an orange phase. He was given to a teacher to be a class pet for a middle school but over time he became more and more violent towards the new owner to the point that she could no longer care for him. She even brought him home, away from the chaos but it did not change. He was a very friendly wonderful addition for us.
Cleo was a kinkajou that lived in the same home for many years. Unfortunately, the owner’s child became allergic to her. Kinkajou’s are found in the rainforest, have a prehensile tail and are related to raccoons. Despite a very cute, cuddly laid back appearance they can have aggressive tendencies that show up very quickly without much warning. Cleo passed away in early 2021 of age related issues.
Charlie is a Double Yellow Amazon Parrot that had been passed around from home to home, at least two of which included young children. A woman with a kind heart was working at a veterinary clinic when the owner at the time simply said that “she was going to get rid of it” because her children were not interested in him. Wanting to be sure Charlie ended up with a good home she took him in. Two years later, she still had not found a private owner that could provide a suitable home so she donated him to Safe Haven. Charlie's favorite pasttime is talking and he has been known to call to for Grandpa, meow like a cat or tell you that he's wet.