Written by Kathleen Malone. Media by Kelsey Middleton.
At some point in your life, you may have likely heard the term animal or wildlife sanctuary. A wildlife sanctuary is defined by PAWS Wildlife Sanctuaries as: “A place of refuge where abused, injured and abandoned captive wildlife may live in peace and dignity for the remainder of their lives.” Do not confuse a sanctuary with a zoo, however, because they are two completely different things. DifferenceBetween.net points out the differences between the two as follows: “Zoo and sanctuary are places where wild animals and birds are placed in protective asylum. Even then, zoo is one thing and sanctuary is another thing. Zoo is a place where animals and birds are in captivity of artificially created habitat. On the other hand, sanctuary can be called as the natural habitat of wild animals and birds.” Sanctuaries are not commercially run and are usually able to run off the donations that they receive from those who support them and help them to continue working.
There are many sanctuaries around the world that do their best to make sure that the animals they care for are healthy and have a place that they can call home temporarily or permanently, depending on the reason for their stay. A few of the sanctuaries that provide helpful services to animals are Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. More sanctuaries are listed on One Green Planet in more detail. Many of these sanctuaries are needed, as there are many animals that can be rescued from horrible situations and allowed to live peacefully and recover for however long it takes.
Visitor Guard explains why sanctuaries are important to have around and also give their own explanation as to what a sanctuary is, and states reasons why they’re important. Animal sanctuaries are critically important as they provide educational knowledge as well as allow people to either get up close and personal with the animals or to admire them from a distance. Even though some sanctuaries post videos or have staff go into the enclosures to feed the animals, sanctuaries remind people that while the animals may not act aggressively towards humans, they are still wild animals and they should not be disturbed in the wild. Animal sanctuaries are also important because they allow people to learn about animals, and even to take care of them if they volunteer at a sanctuary.
From personal experience, I definitely believe that animal sanctuaries are very important, from protecting endangered species, helping injured animals, and even educating people about the animals. A few years back, I visited the Endangered Wolf Center, and I had a very positive experience being able to see different species of wolves, and just watch them move around and do things in the enclosures. I definitely learned a lot when I went there, thanks to the guides that took us around the sanctuary, who told us things about the different wolves that we were seeing. Many of the wolves that we saw were the Mexican wolves, Red wolves, Maned wolves, and African Painted Dogs. I enjoyed the trip there and would encourage others to go visit the sanctuary.
Sanctuaries are amazing places, and there are so many of them to choose from that it’s almost difficult to pick which one to visit. Though you may have to travel to get to a sanctuary, it is a fun and educational experience.