4imprint, LLC

Posted: July 08, 2024 3 min read

one by one®: The Wildcat Sanctuary

The team at The Wildcat Sanctuary has plenty to celebrate this year. The nonprofit rescue and advocacy organization in Sandstone, Minnesota, was founded in 1999, making this its 25th anniversary year. It’s also the second full year since the implementation of new federal legislation closely related to the group’s mission.

The Big Cat Public Safety Act went into effect in December 2022, and prohibits the importation, exportation, selling and private ownership of lions, tigers, cheetahs, jaguars and other big cats as pets. Its passing and enactment were steps in the right direction—but there’s still plenty more work to do.

“Our mission is to provide a natural sanctuary for wild cats in need and to inspire change to end the captive wildlife crisis,” said Jeanna Hensler, donor services manager. “We rescue cats and give them appropriate care and a life as close to wild as possible. We also try to educate people and talk to legislators, law enforcement, veterinarians and others to make them aware of the captive wildlife crisis.”

Allowing cats to live wild at heartA tiger swimming in a pond.

Hensler and her colleagues provide for the cats already in their care, while also working to prevent the need for care in the future. While the team’s advocacy work can take them to various locations, their home base is an 85-acre sanctuary in northern Minnesota, where they tend to nearly 150 animals. That includes lions, tigers, cheetahs, cougars, leopards and more, rescued from across the United States, Canada, Argentina and Ukraine.

The Wildcat Sanctuary exists for the animals—not as an attraction—and therefore doesn’t host tours or invite the public to visit. While it may be home to many wild cats, there are still an estimated 10,000 in private ownership in the U.S. alone. (The Big Cat Public Safety Act included a grandfather clause for cats already privately owned but added a registry requirement.)

Importance of merchandise for fundraising

The Wildcat Sanctuary has about 20 staff members, most of whom are caretakers for the cats. It also has a small team of interns and about 100 volunteers who help the cause. Raising donations is essential to its mission, so when awarded a one by one grant, Hensler knew she would purchase merchandise for fundraising.

She chose branded tote bags and travel mugs, which are sold at outreach events. “The grant came at a perfect time as the warmer months are outreach season,” Hensler said. “Opportunities like one by one grants are critical to our operations. We are always working hard to find ways to support the sustainability of the organization.”

A note from Cheryl

The Wildcat Sanctuary is doing its part to inspire change and end the mistreatment of big cats. We were happy to support its work by providing merchandise for fundraising to help its team carry out its mission. If you’re interested in a one by one grant, visit onebyone.4imprint.com.