Rescuing our wildlife
Wild Animal Sanctuary
Beth Mongold, 1 Act a Day founding member
On a vast expanse of land in Colorado there is a most amazing and strange collection of beasts: lions, tigers, bears, leopards, mountain lions, wolves and other carnivores. The Wild Animal Sanctuary provides a safe home for hundreds of animals who have been abused and/or held captive in zoos, private residences, or as part of an illegal animal trade market.
Our Boulder 1 Act group visited on a very hot afternoon this past summer. Human visitors have the opportunity to observe the animals from a one mile walkway suspended above the various territories. The land has been divided up so that each species can be with their own kind, and as long as we stay above ground level, the animals don’t view us as a threat.
At the entryway to the Sanctuary, there were some smaller pens for newly arrived rescues. Often in their previous lives, the animals have been kept in horrifically small quarters--sometimes in cages barely bigger than their own bodies. They need to be introduced to larger spaces gradually, and to slowly get to know members of their own species. As they adjust, they are able to relocate to larger tracts of land.
One of the more emotional experiences for me was when a volunteer explained a circular pattern we could see in the grass of the wolf territory—three of the wolves had been rescued from a mall in Iowa where someone had been keeping them in a round cage. Even several years after their rescue, the wolves continue to pace the shape of their previous home, as if they can’t forget.
When we first arrived the animals were mostly lounging and sleeping under the many shade structures. It was an awesome experience to suddenly see a tiger roll over or shift position. As the sun set and the air cooled, the action really began. Several separate prides of lions roared in call and response, wolves howled, bears played. Unfortunately that’s about the time we got ushered out. The walkway isn’t lit, so by law we had to be out at dusk.
It is remarkable to be in the presence of these creatures, and to view their dignity even after all they have experienced. The Wild Animal Sanctuary lives up to its name, and I felt honored to be in a place that was truly created for their well being.
Things you can do
1) Adopt an animal or wild place that needs protection and support. There are many organizations that offer this, please see resources below.
2) Get out into nature and connect with non-human beings.
3) Reduce your personal waste (see Zero Waste) so as to have less impact on the natural world. Many of our plastic items end up harming wild animals and the land on which they live.
Resources to learn more
1) The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit that rescues wild carnivores and gives them safe haven for the rest of their lives.
2) Help Wildlife is a charity run website providing advice about sick, injured or problem wildlife, and a directory of 400 wildlife rescue organizations.
3) World Wildlife Fund works to conserve the world's wildlife and their homes.
4) Borneo Orangutan Survival Fund provides care and rehabilitation for displaced or orphaned orangutans rescued from areas of habitat loss.