Keepers of the Wild earns 'Best Charity' rating from Consumer Reports

Ruckus just turned 10 years old in October. He is a Bengal Tiger that was used for "photo-opportunities" where people paid money to have their pictures taken with a baby tiger or lion. He came to Keepers of the Wild when he was 8 months old and could no longer be used by his owners. He will live to be 20 years or more and will continue to eat an average 10 pounds of meat each day.

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Ruckus just turned 10 years old in October. He is a Bengal Tiger that was used for "photo-opportunities" where people paid money to have their pictures taken with a baby tiger or lion. He came to Keepers of the Wild when he was 8 months old and could no longer be used by his owners. He will live to be 20 years or more and will continue to eat an average 10 pounds of meat each day.

Well-known for having an unbiased review of products and consumer services, Consumer Reports is a publication with tremendous popularity. This past month, Keepers of the Wild was named a “Best Charity” to donate to in the category of animal welfare.

There are several charity watchdog organizations that monitor a variety of performance metrics to determine how well a nonprofit does. These include: program, administrative and fundraising expenses; accountability and transparency; donor privacy programs, audited financials and other key information.

A year ago, Keepers of the Wild was awarded a 4-Star Rating by Charity Navigator for its strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency. In September GuideStar recognized Keepers of the Wild with their Platinum Seal of Transparency. The Platinum Seal of Transparency is the highest level of recognition offered by that organization watchdog. Consumer Reports reviewed information gathered by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator and other watchdog organizations. Keepers of the Wild was the only wildlife sanctuary to receive the top rating.

Keepers of the Wild has experienced significant growth during the past four years. Their donor base has grown from around 1,000 households in 2013 to over 45,000 households in 2016. These donors include some from Mohave County; however the majority of donors are spread throughout the United States.

“Having a broad base of supporters who believe in our mission and programs is an essential component of our financial stability,” said Jonathan Kraft, founder and executive director. “It is a great responsibility to be accountable to our donors and provide the type of care that the animals deserve.”

Exotic and native species of captive wildlife receive the best standard of care. Carnivores are primarily fed bone-in beef purchased from local ranchers and raw turkeys purchased from local stores. Over 400 pounds of meat are fed each day at an average cost of $3 per pound. The wildlife sanctuary provides care to a variety of other species including hoofstock, primates, wallabies, raccoons and bird species. The omnivores and herbivores consume an average of $600 per week of fresh produce, dry goods, dairy and specialty diet requirement items.

The quality of food items is the same as what a family would choose to feed their children. Nutritionally complete diets are veterinarian approved for each species cared for. Many of the animals that have been rescued previously suffered from malnutrition, creating special needs for many of the park residents. Providing a wide variety of high quality food reduces the potential for malnutrition and contributes to the overall health of the animals. Park visitors are frequently impressed by the type of meals fed.

The wildlife sanctuary operating budget runs a little over $2,114,000. The out-of-area funds have a significant effect on Mohave County. There is a direct effect on over 40 local business vendors utilized by Keepers of the Wild. These include grocery stores, feed stores, utility providers, insurance, plumbers, heating/air conditioning, veterinary care, advertising, security and waste disposal. The indirect effect on local businesses includes their employees and the goods and services that the companies supply. An induced effect occurs when Keepers of the Wild employees and business employees make local purchases.

Park visitors have increased by over 200 percent in the past four years. Local, national and international visitors bring increased business to local area restaurants, hotels and various other services.

Keepers of the Wild seized the opportunity to contribute to the financial benefit of Mohave County through a variety of revenue sources. The high rating given by Consumer Reports has solidified the standing with current and future supporters.