Red Lodge, Montana, is home to the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, sitting at the base of the Beartooth Highway and located near the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The sanctuary provides a lifelong home to wildlife native to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Visitors are given an up-close look at these majestic animals, where they can learn more about them and conservation efforts from the sanctuary. The nonreleasable animals live out the rest of their lives in comfort and are provided with top-notch medical care, a healthy balanced diet, and behavioral enrichment. The care they receive ensures they live a long and healthy life surrounded by their native habitat. The staff at YWS deeply care about the well-being of these animals.
The non-profit started nearly 40 years ago, shortly after the closure of the Red Lodge Zoo. It was originally named the Beartooth Nature Center and provided homes for non-native animals like domestic goats, ducks, and turtles. Eventually, the center began bringing in native wildlife. The center was renamed the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary in 2012.
Every species at YWS are native to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, with certain types of mammals, birds, and reptiles. The sanctuary provides homes for mountain lions, bison, black bears, wolves, and great-horned owls, to name a few. The sanctuary also has a beautiful, peaceful garden for both the animals and visitors. YWS was deemed an accredited sanctuary in 2019 by the American Sanctuary Association.
The Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary is open from 10 am to 4 pm every day except Tuesday. The last available entry is at 3:30 pm. The best time to see the animals is in the morning when they are the most active. When visiting, be sure to mute your cell phone and stay in a group. Speak softly and walk quietly while visiting. Stay on the path and keep your hands away from the fences. It is also very important to respect staff and animals while visiting. Do not disturb or attempt to throw things at the animals.
Explore all kinds of wonderful animals part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in one place! Click here to learn more about the sanctuary and where you can find it.