Wildlife Sanctuaries

What are wildlife sanctuaries, and what do they do?

If you love wild animals, you have probably been to a zoo, but have you ever been to a wildlife sanctuary? If not, you may have at least heard of wildlife sanctuaries before. There are many of them all over the world. You may not know what they really are, though. People who work at wildlife sanctuaries take care of animals and the environment in many special ways. Here is a closer look at how wildlife sanctuaries work.

What Wildlife Sanctuaries Are

The word “sanctuary” means a safe space. Wildlife sanctuaries are safe spaces where wild animals can live. They are needed more and more as wildlife habitats are destroyed. Human beings often chop down forests or build in areas where wildlife lives. Sanctuaries for wildlife take in many of those animals. They care for the animals and protect them. Wildlife sanctuaries are also protected areas, so the lands they are on are protected. Those lands might include features like:

  • Plains
  • Mountains
  • Rivers and Streams
  • Lakes
  • Flowers
  • Trees

Types of Wildlife Sanctuaries

Different types of wildlife sanctuaries protect animals all over the world. They are run by people who love animals. Many of those people are veterinarians or trained experts in animal care. They use their training to keep the animals healthy and safe. Each specialist has different training, which is part of why some sanctuaries only take in certain kinds of animals. Here are some animal sanctuary types:

  • Sanctuaries That Care for One Type of Endangered Animal, Like an Elephant Sanctuary in Africa
  • Sanctuaries That Care for a Certain Group of Animals, Like Bird Sanctuaries or Large Wild Cat Sanctuaries
  • Sanctuaries That Care for All Different Types of Animals

What Wildlife Sanctuaries Do 

Wildlife sanctuaries care for animals for many different reasons. Some animals they care for are endangered species. Others are wild animals that were raised by people. Sometimes wildlife sanctuaries take in animals for circuses that are closing down. They also take wild animals people have kept as pets illegally. No matter why the animals come to the sanctuaries, they are protected there. Some sanctuary operators run sanctuaries that resemble a natural habitat. They let the animals roam free on big pieces of land. Often, those sanctuaries are for larger animals like wild horses or elephants. Other sanctuary operators give a lot of attention to each animal, especially when the animals there have been illegal pets.

How Wildlife Sanctuaries Are Different from Zoos

You may wonder how wildlife sanctuaries are different from zoos. A zoo is a place where animals are on display for people to look at. Many zoos are designed to be fun for people more than to protect animals. Some zoos do care for their animals well, but not all of them do. Wildlife sanctuaries care about how the animals are treated first. Then they educate people about the animals they help.

How Wildlife Sanctuaries Are Different from Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

Wildlife rehabilitation (rehab) centers are also not the same as wildlife sanctuaries. Rehab centers usually treat injured wildlife from the area around them. For example, if a raccoon is hit by a car, a police officer might take it to a rehab center. Most rehab centers release the animals they care for as soon as they are healthy. Some animals are not released if they are too badly injured. Rehab centers use those animals to teach people about caring for wildlife. Even though sanctuaries and rehab centers are different, some sanctuaries do also have rehab centers.

Why The World Needs Wildlife Sanctuaries

The world needs wildlife sanctuaries for many reasons. They can keep endangered species from going extinct. People can also learn a lot about all sorts of animals from wildlife sanctuaries. Even the environment benefits from animals sanctuaries since they protect the lands the animals live on. If you have a wildlife sanctuary in your area, visit it to learn other ways wildlife sanctuaries help animals, people, and natural resources.


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