FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What if we considered all life as sacred? This is a radical position, but perhaps a necessary one, because if we believe it, it means a profound reordering of how we live, consume, and function together as a society. We need a radical shift to solve our ecological crisis.

Earthfire Institute FAQ

Click on each question to open/close the answer panel.

What is Earthfire’s mission and vision?

Earthfire’s mission is to change how humans see and therefore treat wildlife and nature. We accomplish this through three main areas of focus: providing life-long homes for domesticated wildlife who can never be released into the wild, conservation education, and wildlife rehabilitation. Leading environmental thinkers are coming to the increasing understanding that our ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual one, based on our sense of separation from nature. Through the animals we live with at Earthfire and what we have learned from them, we work to heal this separation.

What are Earthfire’s areas of focus?

Earthfire Institute is an interdisciplinary organization – as is Life.

Domesticated Wildlife Sanctuary
The domesticated wildlife sanctuary is for animals that cannot be released for various reasons. These animals are lovingly cared for and live out their lives at Earthfire, giving us an unparalleled opportunity to learn from them.

Wildlife Rehabilitation
Earthfire takes in injured and orphaned wildlife of Idaho with the express purpose of rehabilitating them for release back to the wild.

Conservation Education
Our primary conservation education focus is saving land for wildlife, locally and globally. We do this through free online Conservation Conversations, weekly blog posts on a variety of topics related to nature and conservation, a monthly syndicated podcast with experts from related fields, retreats held on Earthfire property, and through our state-of-the-art website. Our Executive Director also speaks at national and international conferences in order to bring our message to the global platform.

Deep Ecology
Earthfire operates from the position that all life has inherent worth and therefore each individual is to be treated with respect and care. Through stories and observations of animals at Earthfire, we highlight the individuality and perspective of each living being and seek to bring their voices to conservation decision making. This is in line with a growing movement in the environmental field called Compassionate Conservation, where the worth of an individual life is taken into consideration as well as the welfare of the species.

Holistic Healing
Earthfire combines western science with holistic and complementary medicine. We have found that holistic healing can be extremely effective with wild animals. Earthfire serves as a research center for the efficacy of cutting edge healing methods such as acupuncture, reiki, craniosacral work, sound therapy and zoopharmacognosy on wild animals. We share our findings through our retreats, podcasts, Conservation Conversations, national and international talks, and programming for humans around the world.

Are you open to the public?

We are open by appointment only, for custom visits or for scheduled retreats. We recognize connecting deeply with wildlife is an important part of achieving our mission, but the animal’s safety and quality of life is our greatest concern. To find a balance between this, we limit the number of visits per year to minimize the animals’ exposure to the public, but offer public talks and many other forms of education. We send an information packet to those scheduled for a visit to help them prepare for meeting the animals in a respectful way. This allows both the animals and humans to get the most out of the visit and also helps people examine their attitudes towards wild animals as part of our educational mission—to see animals as fellow beings with much to teach us.

Can I volunteer at Earthfire?

Yes. There are two types of volunteer opportunities available: in the office and on the property. We are always looking for organizational, content, and social media help in the office. If you are interested in working outside and around the animals, an additional approval process is required. Because we work closely with wild animals and not domestic animals, serious responsibility, follow through, and commitment are necessary.

How long has Earthfire been running?

We are approaching our 20 year anniversary as an organization! Our current 40-acre property was purchased in 1998, and we began as a non-profit in 2000. We have had our license to house domesticated wildlife since 1998 and received our rehabilitation license in 2017.

Does Earthfire use animals for filmmaking?

The property on which Earthfire Institute is located houses two separate businesses. The first is Earthfire Institute, a not-for-profit wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation center. The second is The Wild Bunch Ranch, a for-profit animal training company which leases land for its business. The Wild Bunch Ranch offers contract consultant services to assist Earthfire Institute in the safe handling of animals and trains Earthfire employees in animal handling as well. The Wild Bunch Ranch operates separately as a production company. On rare occasions Earthfire animals may be trained and employed for educational films for companies, such as National Geographic and the BBC, under the supervision of The Wild Bunch Ranch.

How did the animals at the sanctuary come to you?

Our animals come to us from a wide variety of situations—almost any you can think of. Some were orphaned and too bonded to the humans who found them to be released. Some came from fur farms or roadside zoos; others from circuses, as illegal pets, irresponsible owners, or breeding facilities. In addition, as The Wild Bunch Ranch winds down its operations, Earthfire has taken over the care and ownership of some of their animals.

Is Earthfire a licensed rehabilitator?

Yes. We have had a Wildlife Rehabilitation License through the Idaho Department of Fish and Game since 2017. We also have an International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) certified wildlife rehabilitator on staff.

What is Earthfire’s role as a wildlife rehabilitator?

Earthfire’s wildlife rehabilitation efforts consist of taking in injured and orphaned wildlife of Idaho with the express purpose of rehabilitating them for release back to the wild. Occasionally, we get permission to bring an animal across state lines. Earthfire works hand in hand with local vets to assess the needs and best course of action for each animal. The rehabilitation of wildlife is regulated by Idaho Fish & Game, animals not permitted are listed below. Per Idaho regulations, any wild animal brought in for rehabilitation must either be rehabilitated and released within 6 months or euthanized if unable to be released, unless conditions enable us to apply for an extension. For this reason, it is extremely important that animals are not handled by or accustomed to humans any more than necessary, as prolonged human contact makes release more difficult.

Where do your rehabilitation animals come from?

Animals brought to us for rehabilitation come to us through various avenues including private individuals and Fish & Game. The need is great but varies throughout the year and season.

Does Earthfire release all of the rehabilitation animals that come in?

No. We are able to release most of the animals that are brought to us for rehabilitation, but only the ones that have a chance at a full, self-sufficient life in the wild. Earthfire works hand in hand with local vets to assess the needs and best course of action for each animal.

What animals can Earthfire NOT take in for rehabilitation?

The animals we cannot take in without special permission from Idaho Fish and Game are:

  • Wolves
  • Mountain lions
  • Grizzly bears
  • Black bears
  • Wild cervids (mule deer, elk, white-tailed deer, moose)
  • Wild bovids (mountain goat, bighorn sheep)
  • Wild antilocaprids (pronghorn)
  • Raptors*

If you find an animal on this list, please call Idaho Fish and Game at 208-525-7290.

We also cannot take any migratory birds, such as water fowl, crows and ravens, songbirds, etc., without Federal permission.

*If you find a raptor that you believe needs help, please contact Teton Raptor Center’s Injured Raptor Hotline at 307-203-2551, or visit their website at https://tetonraptorcenter.org/our-work/young-raptors.

What should I do if I found an animal I believe needs help?

Please see our rehabilitation page and read it thoroughly before proceeding.

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