A Sanctuary for Animals


Shrieks from roosters ride the whistling wind asgrunting pigs saunter by. A family of ducks splash in a pool of water by the barn as thunderous roars echo through forest off in the distance. This can mean only one thing: you’ve reached Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in Spearfish, South Dakota, a home for over 360 animals of 40 different species including bears, African lions, tigers, dogs, cats, parrots, horses, and farm animals.


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Since it was established in 1999, the Sanctuary has grown to become one of the most diverse animal rescues in the nation. Operating on professionally trained volunteer help, donations, and admission fees, the Sanctuary is a non-profit animal charity that upholds the value of all life by providing care for both captive exotics and domestic animals. Few sanctuaries host such a variety of different species.


Having been rescued or surrendered from private owners, breeding facilities, and the entertainment industry, many of the sanctuary’s animals have compelling back stories. The Sanctuary is dedicated to providing a peaceful and nurturing lifelong home for all of these animals. The Sanctuary is licensed by the South Dakota Animal Industry Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure the finest veterinary care and security and quality of the animal enclosures.


 Although our captive-raised animals will never know their wild homes, Spirit of the Hills is committed to giving them the next best thing: a nurturing, peaceful life, free from exploitation. The sanctuary's mission statement is as follows:


To provide a lifelong home for abused, neglected or abandoned animals; to find permanent and loving homes for them when possible and appropriate; and to promote responsible stewardship of the environment and all that live in it through education and advocacy.


Stop by and meet the animals on one of our educational tours. Your admission money and generous donations make it possible for these animals to live out their lives in dignity. We could not exist without the love and support from you and communities throughout the Black Hills. 


So from Siberian tigers to mountain lions, from horses to chickens, they’re all here for you to learn about as you progress through our sanctuary’s rustic Black Hills terrain.