GFAS was founded in 2007 when several leaders in animal protection recognized the difficulty in identifying true sanctuaries among the wide array of animal care facilities around the world. As the title of "sanctuary" is not a regulated term, many facilities operating under the "sanctuary" umbrella do not adhere to any widely accepted standards of animal care. GFAS was created to help better recognize and support sanctuaries that are dedicated to providing excellent animal care.
- Founding member of the first alliance of big cat sanctuaries
- Assembles first FGAS Scientific Advisory Group of Primate Experts.
- Partners with Arcus Foundation to host "Great Ape Giving Day."
- Partners with Arcus Foundation to host its first international workshop in Indonesia.
- Partners with IFAW to host the "Big Cat Sanctuary Workshop 2013" in North Carolina.
- Becomes an invited speaker on the ASPCA Equine Workshop Series.
- Accredits 100th animal care facility.
- Ohio becomes the first state to include GFAS status in its wildlife regulations.
- Accredits first sanctuary outside of the U.S.
- Coordinates the largest sanctuary rescue in U.S. history.
- Sanctuary Excellence to honor namesake.
- Accredits first sanctuary.
- Founded by leadership from national animal protection organizations.