Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary began in 1980 although the idea was conceived two years previous. It started with the acquisition of two gray wolves by Diana and Aaron Hiibel, co-founders of Animal Ark. The Hiibels quickly learned that wild animals do not make good pets and that there were many misconceptions about wolves in general. After much research and hands-on experience, a desire to share the knowledge with others soon developed. A slide show on wolves and other wild animals that were housed by the Hiibels was developed and offered to the public, along with tours for children to see the animals. During this time, the first in a long line of requests to house disadvantaged wildlife was made of the Hiibels. As more animals were provided permanent care, a desire for relocation into a natural environment with more acreage prompted the Hiibels to search for property. Thus, with the purchase of 38 acres in Red Rock Estates, just 25 miles northwest of downtown Reno, Animal Ark was born.