• The Wildlife Sanctuary The Wildlife Sanctuary


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Mission Statement

Our mission is to advance the conservation of indigenous species and their habitats through wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, release, public education, and partnership. To accomplish this, we strive to achieve the following objectives:

1. To help preserve the delicate balance of local ecosystems and minimize man's negative impact on area wildlife, we medically care for injured or orphaned indigenous animals and prepare them for release back into the wild. When release is not possible, we provide appropriate habitat areas for them to live the rest of their natural lives in safety and comfort. These "permanent residents" are then shared with the public in our education programs.

2. To provide enlightening educational and recreational programs to young and old alike that encourage a lifetime of care and respect for America's wildlife and natural resources.

3. To help save the Eastern Panther from possible extinction by providing knowledge about the species, its habitat, range and food sources.

4. To partner with elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges and universities to extend the sanctuary's education reach and provide internships and volunteer opportunities in wildlife ecology, wildlife biology, botany, and other eco-related disciplines.

5. To partner with businesses and corporations to extend the sanctuary's visibility along with that of our partners in the care of wild animals and their habitats.


The Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Ellijay, Georgia, is a rescue, rehabilitation and release facility for the wild indigenous animals of Georgia, from the smallest mammals and reptiles to the largest carnivores and birds of prey. We are a 30-acre facility that medically cares for all species of injured or orphaned wildlife indigenous to Georgia and the Southeast. It began 30 years ago when a young boy named Craig Cylke began rescuing and caring for injured animals that he found in the wild. It wasn't long before the surrounding community learned that Craig would take care of any wild animals in need that were brought to him. Today, the sanctuary is a state and federally licensed facility that remains under the guidance of his wife, Debbie, after the sudden passing of Craig "Grizzly" Cylke, the founder.

Fourteen years ago, the sanctuary achieved 501(c)(3) non-profit status and began to offer outdoor education and summer camp programs to serve elementary, middle school and high school students, cub scouts, boy scouts, girl scouts, and church groups who had an interest in wildlife conservation and nature. To date, the sanctuary's dedicated staff has educated over 250,000 children and adults through on-site course offerings, summer camps, and mobile education programs.



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