there's a huge sanctuary in my state that I've generally heard good things about, the rocky mountain wild animal sanctuary. Are there any red flags I should look for? They talk a lot about the "Captive Wildlife Crisis" but specify they're talking about captives outside of public zoos so I'm not super sure what to think.
Honestly, from a consumer standpoint, what you want to know to support a place is if it cares for it’s animals well. You can use a lot of the same metrics that apply to zoos, like enrichment, to help figure that out. I will note that some sanctuaries refuse to train their animals because they think it’s inhumane, even for management and medical purposes - it’s not necessarily a red flag, but it does indicate a different style of animal management than zoos and a different approach to optimizing welfare.
The politics, past that, are not going to indicate if you should or should not support a specific sanctuary as a consumer who is not further involved in animal management fields. There are larger trends that are worrying, but they shouldn’t influence if you decide to support a specific facility and it’s animal care. Those animals still need homes, no matter where they are, and deserve a good life and high quality welfare. If the facility meets that standard, you’re probably fine.