When we visited Ireland, both the Seal Rescue/Sanctuary and Donkey Rescue were in areas we had never read about!
If interested, you can read the Ireland Story: HERE
Then there was Portugal, the Iberian Wolf Sanctuary. It was a bit hard to find, but Wow, the setting was so beautiful and quiet, a nice change out of the city. Read about the Wolf Sanctuary in our Portugal Story: HERE
What is an animal sanctuary?
An animal sanctuary is a safe haven for the animals either wild or domestic. A place where they can live their lives in the closest possible natural environment, with care and respect.
Animal sanctuaries area NOT zoos, petting or otherwise. Many of these animals have been abused, neglected, abandoned or in ill health.
It is VERY important that the sanctuary that you are visiting is ethical, NOT abusing or neglecting the animals. Sometimes the signs are not obvious. See guidelines below.
Visitation: Many Sanctuaries have no visitation, others have limited visitation(and should), but if you can seek out the times that ARE available it will be well worth it!
Many wildlife sanctuaries have safe, observation walkways or structured tours or you may see the animals during feeding times. Many have educational centers, gift shops (to support the animals) and even picnic areas in designated areas, often quiet and serene settings.
Sanctuaries where domestic animals live such as Pigs, Goats, Donkeys, Cows, Chickens, Sheep, Dogs and Cats, may offer some interaction with certain animals that are used to a gentle touch and often welcome the attention!
Below is list of sanctuaries that we have either visited or thoroughly researched for you.
One way to verify that the sanctuary is indeed ethical, is to look for a logo by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and below that, you will see the word: VERIFIED. This is often located in the affiliate/sponsor page or "about us" page, at the bottom.
If not, they may be accredited by The American Sanctuary Association, here are their guidelines.
Please research the sanctuary before going, here are some guidelines before you go. Link: Guidelines
Please note, there are many more reputable sanctuaries to visit and we would love to hear about them. We will be adding to this list, so please share or stop back by. Thank you for caring and sharing!
Compassion, in which ethics takes root, does not assume its true proportions until it embraces not only man but every living being