Animal lovers worldwide have great opportunity and great responsibility to vote with their dollars and voices when it comes to animal welfare. If you love animals, choose to visit reputable animal sanctuaries.
Zoos are unnatural environments where animals are kidnapped from the wild, locked up in cages, and used for profit. They suffer mentally and physically, and only live a fraction of their natural life span.
But in sanctuaries, animals are welcome to live out their natural lives in a safe and natural habitat, free from exploitation. Animal sanctuaries give animals a desperately needed second chance to live a happy life.
Rescued animals are often victims of injuries, exploitation, abuse, neglect, illegally trapped, raised as pets, or rescued from circuses, slaughterhouses, rodeos and other horrific situations.
Sanctuaries are vital to offer care, food and shelter, and the opportunity for the animals to be happy, healthy and live out their natural lives in safety and peace.
wildlife west nature park
I recently visited a sanctuary, Wildlife West, located just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Run by volunteers, they receive no funding whatsoever, and rely on visitors and donations to care for, house and feed local wildlife in need of a forever home.
It’s a beautiful park setting, where you can walk along pathways and see (and sometimes interact with) the animals, who are living in safe and natural enclosures, including large fields where they can run to their hearts content.
Some have been hit by cars, trapped, or even raised as pets. Each has their own story and they are often told on a plaque by their enclosure, like this one about Morley the falcon.
Most of their residents have been imprinted by humans (or have become too familiar with humans), and therefore can’t safely live in the wild. All the animals are non-releasable.
Many species call this preserve home: prairie dogs, foxes, coyotes, wolves, deer, elk, pronghorn, a bobcat, black bear, raccoon, porcupine, hawk, vulture & more.
The volunteers than run this park are remarkably knowledgable, kind and caring. They spend hours daily playing with one of the coyotes that was raised as a dog, and likes to sit, roll over and get tummy rubs.
how you can help
- If you are planning a visit to New Mexico, stop in to visit and support the animals. There's great restaurants in Albuquerque you can eat at before or after your visit.
- The park also provides great public educational opportunities and hosts local events and festivals to raise awareness and funding for the preserve. Check the website for fun family-friendly seasonal and holiday events.
- Anywhere else in the world, you can donate or virtually adopt an animal! You’ll receive a personalized adoption certificate in addition to the awesome feeling of helping support sweet creatures.