Sanctuaries and safaris are a great way to enjoy animals without having to capture them and put them in unfamiliar territories. Under these circumstances they are able to remain in a natural habitat where they are meant to be. If they were more readily available to the public, more people may choose one of these options over a circus or a zoo. That is where we need to take a stand and make it happen for the welfare of the animals. It is 100% possible if we take the simple, yet necessary steps.
Most sanctuaries are not publicly funded. Often, they have to rely on private contributions, fundraising events as well as grants from other foundations/organizations. Private contributions are the biggest help for places such as these. Although fundraising does help to maintain the sanctuaries, the private contributions often go towards the regular health care of these animals if they require medical attention. For the sanctuaries with very dedicated employees and visitors, occasionally one of these people will leave money in their will for the sanctuary so that they can continue to contribute even after they are gone.
In order for a sanctuary to continue running, it needs visitors to come and pay admission so that money is consistently coming into the sanctuary. This money often is what will be used for food and other basic necessities for the animals. For example, it is approximately $8,000 per animal to keep the bigger animals (tigers, lions, bears) alive, along with $6,000 for the medium sized animals (wolves and mountain lions) and $4,000 for the smaller animals (bobcats and servals). Without this money, the animals will not survive, and without the animals, there is no use for the sanctuary. It is a cycle; the public must come for the animals to live, and the animals must live for the public to come.
(All of the information above was researched and collected from the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center.) 13
It’s a much better experience to see the animals in their natural habitat rather than inside a cage. There are many different organizations that are attempting to open sanctuaries and safaris in the US and across North America. Specifically the Wildlife Safari, although many other sanctuaries/safaris also, state that, “their goal to create a facility in the Pacific Northwest that would help save rare and endangered species from around the world. Over 38 years later, Wildlife Safari
has grown into an AZA-accredited non-profit wildlife park dedicated to education, conservation and research.” 14 People are still able to gain knowledge that they would also gain at a zoo, but in a more humane manner. There have even been schools that have been opened specifically that intertwine research and sanctuary/safari education. The largest example of this in America is in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools in western USA has a well-earned reputation of leading exceptional safari tours and locating wild animals in the wilderness in and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. As Jackson Hole, Wyoming's original and oldest safari provider, we offer educational tours year-round in a stunning natural environment that are fun for the entire family.” 15 One world Safari tours believes that everyone should experience tours of natural, beautiful wildlife and their environment. The number of benefits that sanctuaries and safaris offer are very numerous and luckily, all of these benefits directly affect the animals and how they live, which then indirectly benefits us and our enjoyment of them.