Portrait of Joel
Years ago, Joel, along with his wife, Chemaine, were in the habit of taking in animals that needed homes. Consequently, they then founded of Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary. Located in Phelan, California, USA, it was established in 1997. Joel loved managing this establishment and everything that went along with this task. However, he noted, “it’s hard and it’s rough, and I often feel like pulling my hair out, and that’s why I have so little of it.”
Joel always had an interest in animals and he claimed, “they are my whole life.” Joel’s grandparents had a pet store where they used to sell exotic animals. They stopped selling them when they realized people were not caring for these types of animals properly.
Joel loved all the animals at Forever Wild and could not say which was his absolute favorite. He had a certain affinity for the cats, and aside from them, he had a special fondness for the new Black Bear named Honey. Honey was a year old at the time of this posting and Joel said she could potentially grow a little bigger, maybe up to 250- 300 pounds, “a pretty good size for a female.” I asked if the Black Bears were rare; and Joel said, “they are all over California; there’s a good population of Black Bears in California.”
Forever Wild did not breed any of their animals. The animals had not been DNA tested, so without knowing their genetic background, “there isn’t a benefit to breeding them to help the species out.”
Joel also believed that breeding the animals in his menagerie would be like “the pound breeding dogs.” His sanctuary was a place where animals could live out their lives. Most of these animals were not wanted by someone, were not cared for by someone, or were confiscated. They had nowhere else to go.
The animals all looked happy, until the food was on it’s way, and then of course they were very anxious to get their meals. Joel and his staff gave the big cats enrichment programs, so that they wouldn’t pace back and forth, bored and miserable. There were gigantic balls in some of the cages for the Tigers. The lion, named Wazu, was roaring the whole time I was there; he had a gorgeous loneliness with him.
I was jumping around with glee and excitement to be around these animals. The day that I was at Forever Wild, I got to hear a lion roar and tigers purr.
Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.