When animals are sold into the black market, they lose their freedom, and in many heartbreaking cases, their lives. A sanctuary in Agua Dulce, California, has teamed up with a Los Angeles-based photographer to showcase the beauty and strength of the lucky animals they've managed to save from this heinous cycle of captivity, and the resulting photoshoot is positively 'wild.'
Where the Wild Things Are is a stunning collaboration between Animal Tracks and Natasha Wilson of De Anastacia Photography, and features various animals intended for sale as pets on the Californian black market, including an African serval, South American capuchin monkeys, and even an Australian kangaroo. The magnificent creatures are posed next to models wearing colour-coordinated outfits, fronting nature-inspired backdrops that remind one of the habitats from which these animals were so cruelly plucked. Despite the horrors they have experienced, in Wild Things, each animal appears dignified and completely at peace.
Take a walk on the Wild side and see the breathtaking photos for yourself below, as well as a short backstory on each one. If you live in California and would like to help Animal Tracks rescue more animals like these, you can find more info here.
Scout is a 5 year old wolf/dog hybrid and is currently dealing with stenosis of the spine. He has the most amazing attitude for an animal that is part wolf. He is friendly to all and enjoys a good game of tug-o-war and long walks at Vasquez Rocks. Scout came from the movie industry where they realized that he had a medical issue and needed to have a specialized home.
#2 African Serval
Monzo is one of the last remaining animals of the original Animal Tracks family. He is an 11 year old African Serval, the mid size cat of Africa. He was confiscated by Fish and Game from someone who had him illegally. He is a sweet old man, always looking for some love, and is a great ranch ambassador for his species.
#3 Laughing Kookaburra
Bam-Bam is a captive bred Laughing Kookaburra, and approximately 9 years old. He was attacked by another bird and lost the bottom quarter of his beak. He is now dependent on the sanctuary to keep his beak short enough for him to drink and eat successfully. He is the voice of Animal Tracks.
Jake and Cami are cockatoos, and both previously owned pets. The pet owners, for various reasons, could no longer care for them. These two are some of the nicest cockatoos you will ever meet. They love having lunch with the employees of Animal Tracks and enjoy musical groups like Queen and Blue Swede. The love talking, singing and even screaming.
#5 Bengal Cat
Cheshire the Bengal Cat is now approximately 11 years old and has had several owners in his lifetime. The last one was a busy person and Cheshire needed more of the owners time. He started to do negative things like poop and pee where he pleased, shred curtains and bedding and even attack other pets. This is a common story for animals that are part domestic and part exotic. He now resides in a 200 square-foot kitty cat house at Animal Tracks, with his new best friend Monzo the Serval.
#6 Squirrel Monkey
Luke is a 7 year old Squirrel Monkey. He was privately owned, and got in a fight with another monkey which resulted in the loss of all of his fingers on his right hand. He lives with the love of his life, Princess Leia, quite peacefully, though he does still occasionally flirt with the ladies of Animal Tracks.
Honey Bear and Luna are Kinkajous. Honey Bear is three years old, and has adopted Luna, a yearling. Honey Bear was a surplus animal in Florida at another facility. Luna was attacked by her mother while living in Minnesota. They are guardians of the night, one of the nocturnal representatives at Animal Tracks.
Porcupine Quillamenia (pictured) and her husband Al Sharpton have been happily cohabiting at Animal Tracks since 2008. They were surplus animals at another facility, meaning, this facility already had enough of their own and were trying to help find homes for others. Quillamenia and Al like to come out for long walks and visit the monkeys who will often save their own monkey chow just for them.
#9 Cavy Family
The cavy family are around 2 years old. They came from Arizona where they were previously owned and the owner relinquished them for unknown reasons. They love shoelaces and monkey chow and are hoping for a sod garden this fall. The cavy family is a family of rodents native to South America, in the same family as the domestic guinea pig.
#10 Red Kangaroo
Bella Roo is a five-year-old female red kangaroo. She is married to the love of her life, Winston the wallaby and they have been happily cohabiting at Animal Tracks ever since they met. They love yams, spinach, romain lettuce and warm sunny days. Animal Tracks is hoping for a good 20 years with them. Both Bella Roo and Winston were previously owned by people who were not permitted to have them.
#11 Fennec Fox
Dobie is a 1 year old Fennec Fox. He was rejected by his mother as a baby and went to a rescue in Minnesota. Animal Tracks owner Stacy, and her family flew to Minnesota where they picked him up along with Luna, a baby Kinkajou. Dobie should be living with other fennec foxes so Animal Tracks is hoping the universe will grace them with another fennec fox as a companion soon.
Chomper the alligator is now 7 years old, and 2 1/2 feet long. He is truly a living fossil from the time of dinosaurs. He was confiscated from someone who had him living in their bathtub. When he becomes an adult, he could achieve 14 feet and weigh 800 pounds.
Erminator, the snake came to Animal Tracks back in the late 1990s. He came from a couple of ladies that didn't realize how big the snake was going to get, and has now been educating kids on how to take care of reptiles for over 15 years - an incredible ambassador for his species. Next year he will be 20 years old!
Krissy the baboon is the queen of Animal Tracks. Previously, she was part of a trio of baboons in the movie industry. Krissy’s previous owner, a very good friend of Animal Tracks, saw the other two baboons would pick on her. He felt it would be better for her to have her own place and offered Krissy to the animal sanctuary. Krissy is now constantly learning new things such as finger painting, jumping on the trampoline and taking walks in Vasquez park.
Frank the Tank is a 4 year old ‘six banded’ armadillo previously owned in San Diego. He prefers the life of a solitary man. He loves crunchy insects and big sandy dirt piles, and his favorite pass time is excavation.
There are five ferrets at Animal Tracks; all from different walks of life. Some were owned illegally and some came to them from shelters, but all are loved and healthy at the sanctuary. They have a very social society and get along great together.
#17 Striped Skunk
Little Bear is a 3 year old male striped skunk. He now resides in captivity because his mother was fed by people, became dependent on neighborhood handouts and was killed as a nuisance animal. Little Bear now educates people all over Southern California on the truth about skunks and what you should do if you see one.
Squirt and Maci are the female monkeys of Animal Tracks. Squirt is a 23 year old Capuchin hybrid from the movie industry, never abused. Maci is a 5 year old and sister to Marley, the boy Capuchin. They were owned by a woman in Arizona, who moved to California and relinquished them to the sanctuary when she moved. Squirt and Maci have a mother/daughter relationship and love each other very much.
Marley is a Capuchin monkey, and is one of 7 monkeys at Animal Tracks. Always the life of the party, Marley loves zippers, cameras and going through your hair. It is said that Marley lives life to the fullest and is always monkeying around. He came from Arizona where it is legal to have a monkey for a pet. When the owner moved to California, she had to give up Marley and responsibly found him and his sister Macy a permitted home at the animal sanctuary.