So the next time you take a trip, consider dropping by one of these ten animal sanctuaries to see elephants roam freely 24/7 or a nursery where orphaned sloths are treated with love and compassion.
1. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – Kenya
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has rescued over 150 orphaned elephants and is one of the most successful elephant rescue centers in the world. They have also rescued rhinos, and lead an anti-poaching project along with community development initiatives to provide a comprehensive approach to protecting wildlife.
The center’s long-term goal is to reintegrate rescued elephants back into the wild where they can survive and thrive without threats from poaching.
To learn more about The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, click HERE.
2. Sloth Sanctuary- Costa Rica
Founded in 1992, the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica is the world’s first sloth rescue center. Made internationally famous in Animal Planet‘s “Meet the Sloths” series, the center cares for injured, orphaned and abandoned sloths. Tours are offered to educate the public about these enigmatic creatures and how their main predator—man—affects the future of their species.
The two types of Costa Rican sloths are Bradypus variegatus (Three-fingered) and Choloepus hoffmanni (Two-fingered). Both have three toes—it’s their fingers that distinguish them. Bradypus and Choloepus are actually two entirely separate slow-moving, tree-dwelling, leaf-eating mammals. Their extreme slowness is due to their unique metabolism and physical adaptations for survival in the rainforest.
Scientists at the Sloth Sanctuary revealed that sloths experience tachycardia when held by unfamiliar handlers; this can cause premature death.
Sloths are also vulnerable to illness when exposed to outside microbes and allergens. This is why tour guests are able to see rescued sloths up close but without touching or holding them. Tours include a canoe ride to see the sloths’ natural rainforest habitat. Human encroachment into this habitat is the single most avoidable threat to the future of the species.
Visit SlothSanctuary.com to learn more about sloths and how you can tour this one-of-a-kind facility.*
3. Farm Sanctuary- NY
Farm Sanctuary’s Mission is to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.
Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming and encourage a new awareness and understanding about farm animals. Today, Farm Sanctuary is the nation’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization. They have rescued thousands of animals and cared for them at their sanctuaries in Watkins Glen, New York; Northern California; and Los Angeles.
Animals are friends, not our food. They educate millions of people about their plight and the effects of factory farming on our health and environment. They also advocate for laws and policies to prevent suffering and promote compassion, and reach out to legislators and businesses to bring about institutional reforms.
Farm Sanctuary believes “A Compassionate World Begins With You!”
4. Wildlife Waystation-Sylmar, CA
The Wildlife Waystation is a 160-acre private animal sanctuary located in the Angeles National Forest just north of Los Angeles, California. They provide refuge and a place for healing for over 400 wild and exotic animals comprising over 125 different species.
They are funded through generous donations. Most recently, they were impacted by the Santa Clarita fire, and successfully evacuated all of the animals to a safe location.
To learn more, click HERE.
5. Elephant Nature Park – Thailand
Lek is known as “the elephant whisperer,” she began the Elephant Nature Park 20 years ago as a safe-haven for the majestic animals. Elephants in the area are so mistreated in the tourism, and logging industries in Thailand.
Elephants thrive at the rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary Lek created and works hard to maintain. Some come with dislocated hips, and scars from bull horns (hooks stabbed into an elephant’s ear by a trainer to teach tricks), and are free from a life of pain for the first time.
At Elephant Nature Park, you can you can feed and visit with these animals or help give them a mud bath like this adorable video demonstrates, yet you won’t see any painting, dancing, or elephant giving rides. A large part of the visits include learning about the past of each elephant as well.
6. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – Australia
Only 12km from Brisbane City, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary with over 130 koalas. Hold a koala anytime, hand feed kangaroos and meet a large variety of Australian wildlife in beautiful, natural settings. To visit, click HERE.
7. Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary – New Zealand
In the 1980s, conservationists spent ten years restoring the island (used as farmland in previous decades) to its natural habitat in hopes of bringing back native species. Today, the island is an “open sanctuary” where endangered species (like the vibrant takahē) are thriving in their natural setting again.
To get here you can take a ferry from Auckland. There is birdwatching and hiking on the island in hopes of witnessing little spotted kiwis, takahēs, and tuatara.
To visit click HERE.
8. Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary – Ghana
The Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary (WCHS) is a unique community-based project, protecting and preserving the wildlife and the environment of a 40km stretch of the Black Volta River in Ghana’s Upper West Region. The river is home to one of the two remaining hippopotamus populations in Ghana, and was created into a Sanctuary by local chiefs in 1999. Since then, the project has had marked success in providing Ghanian and International tourists with a unique and unusual eco-travel experience.
For more information, click HERE.
9. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Pandas – China
Pandas have an extremely hard time getting pregnant. Female pandas only ovulate once a year which is not so good for the species when they are up against environmental degradation and habitat loss from human development. Fortunately, there are places like the Chengdu Research Base which combines educational tourism, conservation education for visitors, and research into panda breeding.
The UN Environment Programme even named this panda refuge one of the top 500 environmental conservation entities.
Learn more and see how you can visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Click HERE to visit.
10) Shambala Preserve-Acton, CA
The Roar Foundation was founded by legendary actress and animal advocate Tippi Hedren in order to support The Shambala Preserve. Her mission is to raise awareness as to the dangers of exotic animal ownership, as this business poses a huge threat to both the public and the animals. The foundation focuses on this big business, and urges that more stringent legislation, both on the federal and state levels, be drafted to prohibit breeding and selling.
This sanctuary’s purpose is to allow magnificent, exotic animals to live out their lives with care, understanding and dignity. Each animal is provided with the most humane and best nutritional, medical, emotional, and mental care possible.
To learn more about Shambala, please click HERE.
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