Founder of the Project Survival’s Cat Haven Dale Anderson

Project Survival’s Cat Haven opened in 1998.  When our founder (Dale Anderson) was in 7th grade, an educator brought a Mountain Lion named “Sam” to his school. After leaving his child hood town of Santa Rosa, Dale went to college at Oregon State, Kings River College and Fresno State.  He then became a pilot for United Express for 10 years but always remembered “Sam”.

As a pilot, he was able to visit zoos around the world. At first Dale thought that he would like to have an exotic cat as a pet but soon realized that getting involved with cat conservation projects was a much better option.  Dale met Dr. Ronaldo Morato ( Jaguar researcher and head of carnivore conservation in Brazil) at the Sao Paulo Zoo. Dr. Morato encouraged Dale to push forward with his dream.

cat haven 043To operate a facility like Project Survival, the law in California requires that you have dale-and-tango2 years of full time hands-on experience and training.  You must have a purpose (example: Sanctuary, Re-hab, Education) and habitat/enclosure in place before obtaining cats. Federal and State permits are required.  Not an easy task.

Dale started as a docent at Fresno Chaffee Zoo and also taught the docent training class.  He then went on to get exotic cat experience at Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in Rosamond, California. He acquired the property for Project Survival during this time.


The first cats arrived in 1997. With a variety of rare and endangered species, Project Survival became a model for cat conservation and education.  Chen and Argon (Amur Leopards) came from an AZA facility called Oak Hill Center. When Chen arrived, she was pregnant and soon gave birth to 3 female cubs. Then Tizana (Snow Leopard from Oak Hill),  Cam and Ah Mei (Clouded Leopards), Shebeth (Melanistic Leopard), Kong and Goliath (Bengal Tigers from Marine World Africa USA), Jasiri and Morani (Caracals) to name a few. 

dale-and-diannaOver the years we have had to say good-bye to many of the original cats but our dale-and-pelyfamily continues to grow.  Each cat is a representative of wild cat cousins in the wild.  Project Survival aims to put  20% or more of it’s income into cat conservation projects across the world.  Everyone who visits learns about the projects we support (Snow Leopard Conservancy, Action for Cheetahs Kenya, Cheetah Conservation Botswana, Small Cat Conservation Alliance, Fishing Cat Conservancy, Pro Carnivoros, Mara/Meru Cheetah Project, Clouded Leopard Project Thailand and more).


We provide education programs to school groups, churches and others.

Thank you to Leon and Marion Anderson, (Dale’s parents) for supporting the dream. Today, Dale is the proud Father to 34 wild cats! 

His other passions are his relationship with God, his family and always, to save cats in the wild.

My parents Leon and Marion Anderson.
No one could ask for better parents
and any more love and support.