Safe Haven Rescue Zoo, Imlay, Nevada

Last weekend, my family made a trip out to an animal sanctuary and rescue zoo in Imlay, NV.    Where’s Imlay?    Well, head about 2 hours northeast from Reno on Interstate 80 and then turn right and drive some more.   It’s a beautiful spot in the middle of the desert with huge vistas of the Humboldt mountain range.

But, I wouldn’t say they get a lot of drive-by traffic.   It is desolate.   And, that’s why it is the perfect spot to build a big home for some big animals.

Classic Nevada views from Safe Haven
Classic Nevada views from Safe Haven of the Sagebrush ocean and Buena Vista Valley

What’s Safe Haven?    Here’s a link to their website,, and their Facebook page,   There’s a lot more to this place than just lions, tigers and furry critters.   The history stems from rescuing exotic pets and giving them a better habitat.   It’s a 501(c)3, not for profit, organization and a very worth cause for donation.   They are open for tours, but check their schedule of events for a better visit and learning experience.   Also, please consider supporting their current donor program.

Now, it’s time for some photos of the fun stuff.    This is my favorite.

christopher prowl

Christopher is a rescue from a private breeder and has been moved twice to find his forever home at Safe Haven.   He is stunning.  For more information about Christopher and his relocation to Safe Haven, please read this recent article from the Reno Gazette Journal by clicking HERE.

I loved getting to be close to such large cats but you do have to remember that they are wild animals.   It is easy to respect that you are not the top of the food chain when you look into those eyes.   For some perspective on what Safe Haven is like, here are a few shots of the habitat areas for the animals and the work that goes into building large scale fencing for them.

zoo 3zoo 2zoo 1

Safe Haven does private tours by appointment and, let me tell you, it is a treat to hear the stories about the animals and learn about their personalities from the trained professionals who work with the animals every day.   I learned so much on my visit.

At first, I wanted to just post the pretty pictures that made the animals look like they aren’t in pens.   But, I am learning that some people think that makes it a great idea to keep a bobcat or coyote as a pet.   It is a terrible idea.   They are not domestic cats or dogs.   Please keep this in mind when you admire a wild animal.

And, WOW, the tigers are beautiful.   Until this visit, I didn’t realize that white tigers are an unnatural occurrence that only exists because of inbreeding.   Christopher is a handsome fellow.   It’s just not right to sell his genetics to the highest bidder.   I still adore him but I feel a little bad about that.

There are several other new friends at Safe Haven for me to introduce to you as well …

Safe Haven really has a lot to see.   There are many more species of animals such as Iggy the Iguana and Mojave Moe the Desert Tortoise (who was surprisingly quick) in addition to coyotes and African servals.    If you can swing by their neck of the desert, I highly suggest a visit.   If it’s just too far, please click on over to their website and enjoy a virtual visit.

In the meantime, I’m sharing a video link so you can see what dinner time looks like for Syber and Gage, the Siberian tigers … HERE.  RAWR!


Have you ever been to Safe Haven?   Do you have a tiger tale to share?   Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada

The Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge is near Fallon, Nevada, and is about an hour east of Reno.    It is strangely listed as a ghost town on many websites but it is actually inhabited by a variety of Nevadans such as Paiute and Western Shoshone Indians, alfalfa farmers and a cattle rancher or two from Fallon.   There is a significant amount of history to the area and is a wildlife preserve for many wetland species even though it ironically borders a private hunting club.   The dichotomy of Stillwater is strong.   Sometimes, when the water is being released for the local farms, the area will be dry as a bone for miles and, when the water is plentiful, it is green as could be.   It’s like the Kalahari Desert of Nevada.

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