I will not name the sanctuary’s name due to reasons that will become clear later.
I am very grateful for what the sanctuary does by taking in exotics that no longer have a home or can be taken care of. I am well aware of how difficult it can be to have enough supplies, money, and labor to be able to take in animals that keep getting dumped into the sanctuary. I did get to experience some really cool stuff while I was there like petting a tiger or feeding bears which was actually really awesome.
That being said…
None of the workers could get the story straight about where their big cats came from.
I get it. Lots of tigers. Very hard to keep track of them. But it shouldn’t be that difficult to be able to remember their backstories if you work with them all the time. The volunteers had no idea and even mentioned that the owner changes the story up so many times that they just go with the most recent one.
The health of the animals is not a main priority.
THE SANCTUARY IS BY NO MEANS ABUSIVE TO THEIR ANIMALS, however, a few things did catch my eye. In one enclosure they had two leopards who were both extremely overweight. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. When asked about the health of the animals the volunteer said that they don’t really care so much about health as long as they are happy. That completely shocked me because HEALTH SHOULD ALWAYS BE A MAIN PRIORITY.
There was also a tiger there that was paralyzed by the waist down. It wasn’t able to walk very far so they put her in a smaller cage that way she would not have to move very far to reach her food. The owners wanted to try everything they could to fix the problem before they decided to put her down (which I completely agree with). However, the tiger had horrible bed sores from dragging her legs across the concrete and it did look very painful. The sight of the tiger trying so hard to come and play almost brought me to tears. I felt that, in order to prevent the bed sores and to keep the tiger from hurting herself, that at the least rubber mats should have been placed. Yes, she could easily tear into it but at least she would not be breaking skin. Seeing the pain in her eyes made me want to beg to put her down. I couldn’t stand to stay in there much longer.
I had an uneasy feeling the entire time I was there. I did not mention the size of the cages because LEGALLY they are large enough and I completely understand that animals constantly being dumped on you limits your supplies. I can say that the sanctuary is doing more good than harm, but some of their priorities need to be changed.