Colorado’s Wild Animal Sanctuary had a record number of animals rescued in 2019, with 204 animals being saved from abuse, neglect or unsuitable housing.
With an already record number of animals rescued from abuse and neglect, an additional three tigers and two black bears arrived at their new Colorado home on 29 December from a failed facility in Texas.
One of three Spectacled Bears rescued from a closed zoo in Argentina enjoying its natural habitat at The Wild Animal Refuge in Colorado. It is the first time the bears have felt natural grass under their feet.
Bringing the total number of animals rescued by The Wild Animal Sanctuary in 2019 to 204, the five new residents can look forward to a life free from human exploitation while living in large, natural habitats. For the bears that means a life of roaming free with other rescued bears on 250 acres of forested land at the Sanctuary’s secondary location, The Wild Animal Refuge, in southern Colorado.
Of note were 24 animals rescued from a roadside zoo in Virginia in August, including three tigers, two lions and two Asiatic Black Bears; 16 animals from the Wildlife Waystation in California, including 10 bears and three hyenas; a total of 13 bears from two zoos in Argentina, three of which are rare Spectacled Bears.
The largest rescue took place in January when 131 animals were removed from a dire hoarding situation in Ordway, Colorado. In all, a total of 31 bears of various species were given a new lease on life by the Sanctuary, with most of them being rehomed at the Refuge.
“Naturally, we are thrilled that we could save so many animals and give them the best life possible; it is why the Sanctuary exists and what has kept the staff and volunteers going for 40 years,” stated executive director, Pat Craig.
“We are also ever grateful to our wonderful supporters who make our work possible and all of us look forward to the coming year so we can change even more animals’ lives for the better,” he added.
Why is it important to protect these animals?
By protecting endangered or at risk animals, we are ensuring the world’s biodiversity is secure. Sustainable biodiversity not only supports the ecosystems of certain regions but also maintains the status quo in the local food chains.
For example, if you were to remove all the natural predators for a species, the animal will continue to breed, increasing its population. From the animal’s perspective this appears to be a positive, however, with high populations comes food scarcity and the subsequent starvation of many members of the species.
Additionally, from a philanthropic prospective, it is in the human’s best interest to protect animal welfare. By maintaining sustainable animal populations, humans ensure the security of the animals and plants that they eat. For example, if you were to allow all insects to become extinct, we would lose almost all life on earth, due to them being deeply entrenched in our food chain.
There is no way certainty in knowing the extent of the damage caused by removing certain animals from the natural environment, until the damage is done.