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501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization | The Ellijay Wildlife Rehabilitation Sanctuary does not presently rehab migratory or birds of prey
New Features: Wildlife Blog | Stories That Touched Our Hearts | The Grizzly Awards | Special Contributors |
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The Grizzly Awards

A Grizzly Award, in honor of Craig “Grizzly” Cylke, founder of The Wildlife Sanctuary in Ellijay, Georgia, is given to an individual or individuals to recognize a documented true act of kindness in the safe and successful rescue of a wild animal or animals. Grizzly Awards may be given to individuals normally involved with wildlife, such as wildlife rehabilitators, wildlife ecologists, or wildlife biologists, but are more likely to be awarded to individuals who happened upon an animal situation and acted to rescue and/or save the animal or animals out of the kindness of that individual’s heart. This “kindness of their heart” criteria specifically honors the founder of The Wildlife Sanctuary and his life’s work in the rescue, rehabilitation and eventual release of wildlife.

Grizzly awards can be awarded to any individual(s) anywhere in the United States and focus on species indigenous to the United States. International Grizzly Awards can be awarded to any individual outside the United States and focus on any species. Lifetime Grizzly Awards are given to individuals who devoted their life’s work to savings wild animals, to protecting or preserving a specie or species, and/or to educating others about the importance of wildlife.

Any individual or organization can submit documentation of a wild animal rescue to The Wildlife Sanctuary. This may include pictures, newspaper or television coverage, with permission from anyone with rights to the written or audiovisual information, along with the name(s) of the individual(s) involved in the rescue for potential Grizzly Award recognition.

Awarding of a Grizzly is determined by The Wildlife Sanctuary in its sole discretion. Newspaper clippings are acceptable as documentation. Reference to a television news story is not acceptable as documentation unless full contact information for the news broadcast is provided as part of the submission. In addition, The Wildlife Sanctuary can conduct its own investigation and make its own determination regarding the actions of the individual(s) for the award of a Grizzly.

For clarification, a safe rescue is one in which anyone involved in the rescue, or individuals in the immediate area, were not harmed during the rescue of the animal(s). A “successful rescue” is one in which the animal’s life was not put further in harms way, was saved, and the animal was later returned to the wild or provided to a permanent care facility to live out the duration of its natural life, depending upon the releasable condition of the animal. A “true act” is one in which the rescue did not involved a staged activity or forced action where the rescue was concocted by an individual or individuals, involving putting a wild animal or animals in harms way to create the appearance of a rescue, or intentionally separating infants from their mothers to create the appearance of a rescue. Evidence of staged activities or forced actions will be turned over to the appropriate authorities for investigation and possible prosecution.

Grizzly Award Recipient’s receive a commemorative award acknowledging their unselfish act of kindness and the award date (which may or may not be the rescue date).


501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization
Grizzly, Wildlife Sanctuary Founder
Grizzly, Sanctuary Founder: 1958-2009
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Award Recipients

Sterling Savings Bank loan officer Joel Armstrong Rescues Ducklings

Huron County Sheriff Deputy Ryan Swartz Rescues Dazed Doe

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