THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF YRWS

BENEFITING ANIMALS

EDUCATING HUMANS

Our vision is to provide unreleasable wildlife with life-long homes in an environment that successfully meets their physiological and psychological needs. Our mission is to provide education to our community on the importance of caring for wildlife and their natural habitats.

HISTORY

In 1962, the Yellow River Game Ranch became a first-of-its-kind establishment in Gwinnett County providing a home for injured or orphaned wildlife, as well as a place where hundreds of families came to interact with deer, rabbits, goats and more. Not only did it become an iconic venue in the area, it served as a treasured experience and memory to its many guests. Through 2013, the Game Ranch was owned and operated by Col. Art Rilling who then sold it to long-time employees. In December of 2018, the Yellow River Game Ranch closed its doors. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources worked to re-home many of the resident animals leaving the bison, pigs, vultures, turtles and the bears to be cared for by dedicated volunteers.

HISTORY

In 1962, the Yellow River Game Ranch became a first-of-its-kind establishment in Gwinnett County providing a home for injured or orphaned wildlife, as well as a place where hundreds of families came to interact with deer, rabbits, goats and more. Not only did it become an iconic venue in the area, it served as a treasured experience and memory to its many guests. Through 2013, the Game Ranch was owned and operated by Col. Art Rilling who then sold it to long-time employees. In December of 2018, the Yellow River Game Ranch closed its doors. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources worked to re-home many of the resident animals leaving the bison, pigs, vultures, turtles and the bears to be cared for by dedicated volunteers.

NEW BEGINNINGS

When we heard the news about the closing, we couldn’t help but wonder about the animals and how they would be cared for. Showing our children how to care for wildlife and giving them an opportunity to learn has always been important to us. Jonathan reached out to GDNR and quickly began inquiring about the sale of the property… and the fate of the animals left there. We purchased the Game Ranch and began envisioning what we could do to provide the resident animals with the best life possible. Major improvements to the property were top priority, the most notable was creating a two-acre bear enclosure complete with a pond, waterfall and night house. We also built strong relationships with fellow sanctuaries, Zoo Atlanta and many wonderful rehabbers.

LOOKING AHEAD

With the help of talented curators, keepers, staff and volunteers, the new Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary will promote animal appreciation and provide wildlife education. We continue to work closely with both the GDNR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure everything we’re doing is in the best interest of the animals. Our plan includes various programs for schools, home-schoolers and the general public. Our goal is to provide the animals with enrichment activities, high quality diets and well-maintained habitats. We thank all of you for your support and generosity and hope to see you at YRWS soon!

Katy and Jonathan Ordway
YELLOW RIVER WILDLIFE SANCTUARY OWNERS

LOOKING AHEAD

With the help of talented curators, keepers, staff and volunteers, the new Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary will promote animal appreciation and provide wildlife education. We continue to work closely with both the GDNR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure everything we’re doing is in the best interest of the animals. Our plan includes various programs for schools, home-schoolers and the general public. Our goal is to provide the animals with enrichment activities, high quality diets and well-maintained habitats. We thank all of you for your support and generosity and hope to see you at YRWS soon!

Katy and Jonathan Ordway
YELLOW RIVER WILDLIFE SANCTUARY OWNERS

THE STAFF of YRWS

YRWS Abbey Elkert

meet Abbey

ABBEY ELKERT
lead keeper / photographer
Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary Liz

meet Liz

ELIZABETH FINCHER
keeper / volunteer coordinator
Great Pyranese yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary
JETT and CLARA
livestock guards

These fantastic Great Pyrenees ladies came to us from a local rescue organization. Great Pyrenees are used to protect livestock so we thought they would be a perfect fit for the Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary. When they are not busy guarding or herding they are wonderful companion dogs that enjoy playing catch, the occasional belly rub and lots of affection.

Jett is the largest and oldest of the two pups. She is extremely fluffy and has droopy eyes. She loves attention and if you’re not giving enough she makes sure to let you know by throwing a paw up and scratching your leg. Clara is the youngest and most spry of the pups. She’s great at her job and keeps our critters safe. When keepers aren’t present, Jett and Clara roam the grounds and keep unwanted guests on the other side of the fence.

INJURED/ORPHANED

If you come across injuredor orphaned wildlife, refer to this link to locate theproper rehab facility.

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