For all you animal lovers like myself out there, what better way to spend your weekend than visiting your furry friends?
There are numerous advantages to maintaining wildlife sanctuaries. Protecting endangered species is one way of preserving them without disturbing their right to live in the natural habitat they flourish in best. Other than for preservation purposes, sanctuaries serve the general public for education purposes and ecotourism becomes a major utilitarian component of the country’s economy as well.
As Sylvia Dolson rightfully said in “Joy of Bears”: “Connecting with the wilderness allows us to live in the flow of a meaningful, joyful life. Embracing this state of connectedness or oneness with other living beings including animals, as opposed to feeling an “otherness” or “separateness” brings a sense of harmony and enables us to be at peace with oneself and the world.”
Based on helpful research and support from other articles, here are the 10 most interesting wildlife sanctuaries around the world:
10) Wolong National Natural Reserve, China
Let’s face it: we’ve all been overcome with the desire of owning a pet panda or at least rolling around with one. Unrealistic dreams aside, we know watching pandas are a possibility but they’re native to China. If you decide to take that trip to China, stop by the largest and most well-known panda reserve.
The Research Center for the Giant Panda was founded in 1980 with the help of the World Wildlife Fund. The Reserve doesn’t just witness pandas, it is a home to other exotic, native Chinese pecies such as the white-lipped deer, the red panda, the gnu etc.
What’s more, people are allowed to “adopt” pandas by naming them and offering a donation. Be right back, going to adopt a panda.
9) Paul’s Place Wildlife Sanctuary, Australia
And this literally is Paul’s place. A family business run by Paul and Katja, the website to this unique wildlife sanctuary experience discloses that this is a “fun, hands-on experience with all kinds of animals” and that Paul and Katja and their children provide for a homely, comfortable, unforgettable time.
What’s better than visiting an exotic country (WITH KANGAROOS!) to be welcomed to a sanctuary that has a homely vibe to it?
8) Tiggywinkles, England
It couldn’t get any more touching than this. This isn’t just a wildlife sanctuary, this serves as a hybrid hospital for injured animals that require treatment.
With generous donations from guests and sponsors, this sanctuary contains hedgehogs, badgers and wild birds.
Guests perform activities such as making hedgehog homes, having picnics and visiting gift shops and cafes.
7) Boon Lott’s Sanctuary, Thailand
Overcome by an insatiable desire to pet actual elephants? This sanctuary is strictly against elephant shows or any other sort of elephant displays that require these gentle giants to exert themselves more than required.
Visitors can book trips to ride, hug, play with and bathe elephants. Animals can be adopted by guests online through their website.
6) Sundarban National Park, India
In West Bengal India, lies a sanctuary that’s home to the exotic Royal Bengal Tiger. These tigers are famous for their man-eating tendencies. It is home to more than 400 tigers, the Indian Grey Mongoose, Wild Boar, Flying Fox and Chital.
The Sundarbans were named after an exquisite kind of mangrove tree native to this area.
However, the sanctuary is undergoing a hard time in the maintenance department due to the lack of staff, inadequate funds and infrastructure.
5) SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa
This sanctuary was started independently by one woman’s fueled passion for rescuing wild animals like impalas, kudus, wildebeests, waterbucks, giraffes, rhinos, hippos and even elephants.
In the Limpopo Province, the 6000 hectare sanctuary caters to vegans and welcomes donations and holds occasional fundraisers.
4) Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, Canada
A family that single-handedly started this sanctuary has vegan credentials and have animals that were rescued from dairy and meat industries. There is an online shop and animals can be sponsored through their website too.
There are monthly vegan potlucks and visitors are allowed to make working visits because the sanctuary is not open to the general public always.
3) Yellowstone National Park, USA
Spread out across the state of Wyoming, Yellowstone is a tourist spot with bisons, bears and wolves roaming the valley. Post 1995, it has also been a home to wild wolves that were introduced to the habitat.
Species endemic to this area are the moose, elk and cutthroat trout.
2) Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Malaysia
The Malaysian Borneo witnesses witnesses some of South East Asia’s wildlife. There are some of the best sea adventures and water sports available in the area where aquatic wildlife can be observed.
The lowland rain-forests can be explored, and the Borneo Proboscis monkeys are one of the species endemic to the area.
1) Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Australia
This is apparently the oldest and largest Koala reserve to have existed in the world. In Brisbane, visitors get to handle snakes, kangaroos, lorikeets and the opportunity for teenagers and children to get involved by being tagged “Keeper of the day” to gain perspective on what it takes to become a wildlife keeper.