Wild Ohio

The heart of Ohio hides a surprising secret. Few people know this but Cumberland, Ohio houses the largest wildlife conservation center in North America. The non-profit safari park is home to many endangered species and offers them wild roaming spaces to grow and develop away from their natural predators and other threats. This park is called The Wilds and it’s open to the public.

The mission of The Wilds is twofold. Primarily they’re interested in assisting endangered species in their recovery but the park also puts a heavy emphasis on nurturing love and a feeling of personal commitment towards the conservational sciences. Their mission plan says it all when it states, “To advance conservation through science, education, and personal experience.” The park offers a wide variety of experiences but their most popular is likely the bus tour. On this tour you climb aboard repurposed school busses and drive through the animal habitats Jurassic Park style. Seeing the animals out and about in acres of preserved land is quite an experience. As much as I love zoos, the zoo habitats are claustrophobic compared to the ranges afforded the animals at The Wilds.

And speaking of animals just take a look at some of their current residents:

At one point fewer than 70 wild Trumpeter Swans where thought to exist in the wild. Their numbers have improved quite a bit since then.


The Fringe-eared Oryx is considered a vulnerable population and traditionally makes its home between Kenya and Tanzania.


Never underestimate the fierce pack loyalty of the African Painted Dog. These hypercarnivores are still endangered due to the loss of their natural habitat and overhunting.


The cheetah needs no introduction. At The Wilds they have plenty of room to stretch their legs.


These largely solitary guys are Greater One-Horned Asian Rhinos. They usually have a hard time in captivity so please respect their space.


The Pere David’s deer has a miraculous story. When they were discovered there were fewer than 30 remaining in the world. They are considered extremely endangered and are actually extinct in the wild but you can still see them if you take a bus tour.

Of course the park offers other activities like hiking, camping, horseback riding, and ziplining but none of those compare to the excitement of seeing these amazing animals up-close. The Wilds also has some state of the art veterinarian laboratories but those are typically off-limits to guests. For those interested in visiting click here for more information.







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