As Hawaii’s only USDA licensed and fully-accredited exotic animal sanctuary, the Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary was founded in 1999 and is a private, non-profit organization located on five acres above Kona. The featured animals that call Three Ring home include rare, exotic, and endangered species. Resident animals live out their natural lives in their purposefully designed habitats.
The Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary is accredited by the American Sanctuary Association and by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. This accreditation means that the sanctuary has created appropriate habitats and environments for all animals housed at the facility with optimal attention being given to each species’ space, enrichment, and nutrition. The Three Ring Sanctuary is one of only 38 facilities in the entire United States to earn this distinction. The licensing held by Three Ring by the United States Department of Agriculture and Federal Wildlife permits means they can house and possess endangered species and raptors.
The Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary is a true sanctuary, meaning that it is not open to the public. This is to keep the animals from being stressed or experiencing any possible hazards. Instead, the animals are shared with the community through teaching programs in the form of community lectures held at community centers and libraries, programs for area school children, private tours, and community events at the educational pavilion. Program subjects will include a variety of topics, such as the difference between wild and domestic animals, and teaching guests what will make good pets and what will not. Topics also include what animals belong in Hawaii, how we can communicate with animals without saying a word, that extinction means gone forever, and how to care for animals who are here now but might not necessarily belong on the island.
School programs begin with teaching sessions in the classroom and then are concluded with a field trip to the Three Ring sanctuary. There are many animal experts and guest speakers who volunteer their time to participate in these all-important teaching programs. The Sanctuary focuses mainly on teaching children, aged 8 to 11, about the exotic and endangered species housed on-site. This includes a wide variety of animals ranging from alpacas, llamas, spider monkeys, zebras, and lemurs, to the African gray parrot, peacocks, and sugar gliders, along with many, many more mammals, insects, birds, marsupials, and amphibians.
In addition, the Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary is also a retirement community for some of the state’s Nene population, also known as the Hawaiian Goose. This means that captive birds beyond the age of reproduction will live out their remaining healthy years housed in the sanctuary and serve as ambassadors as part of the sanctuary’s program helping to educate both adults and children.
The Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary is donation-supported and 100% of every single donation goes towards the care of the animals that call the sanctuary home and to funding the educational programs put on by the sanctuary meant to educate the population about these animals. The sanctuary features varying levels of donations allowing those interested to help continue the efforts of the facility. For example, anyone can go on their site and become a Godparent to a sanctuary animal for a one-time donation of $50. This comes with a “Godparent Certificate” identifying the animal that is being supported. It makes an excellent gift and a great way to give back. Donations can also be given by “Adopting” a sanctuary animal. Of course, the donation is not really an actual adoption, just a monetary one. The animal still remains housed at the sanctuary and the property of the facility. These are monthly donations that go towards keeping the facility operating optimally.
-Aside from school educational programs, Three Ring also provides residential and veterinary programs for pre-vet students. Interns who have gone through their program have a 100% success rate of entering veterinary college.
-After school mentoring for kids aged 12 to 13, allowing them to become junior keepers is yet another way the sanctuary gives back to the community.