5 Interesting Facts About True Animal Sanctuaries

Have you ever been to an animal sanctuary? They come in all sizes, and specialties, but true animal sanctuaries have one thing in common. They provide a home for the animals they take in for the rest of their life, and provide proper care for the animals under their watch.

Most true animal sanctuaries’ animal residents come from situations of distress, neglect, and even terrible forms of abuse. Many animals come from such environments for extended periods of time after long term abuse has occured.

Thankfully, true animal sanctuaries are a great escape from the suffering previously endured by these animals in the past. It’s a refuge for these animals to spend their remaining time in peace and safe from their abusers.

Fact 1: True Animal Sanctuaries Are AZA Accredited

It’s an interesting fact that animal sanctuaries, zoos, and aquariums have a highly acclaimed accreditation they can pursue and attain.

There are many animal sanctuaries in the United States that qualify as legitimate animal sanctuaries. These sanctuaries abide by the requirements and standards established for the welfare of the animals under their care.

Sadly there are also many illegitimate facilities that falsely operate as animal sanctuaries, but are far from that. In fact, many operate illegally, while pretending to the public that they are respectable animal sanctuaries. Many paint a pretty picture to the public, and the animals are under distress, neglect and abuse in private.

The same can be said for zoos as well.

Fortunately, for legitimate sanctuaries and zoos, the AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) Accreditation located at https://www.aza.org/accreditation can be a attained.


Ask sanctuaries, zoos and aquariums if they hold the AZA accreditation if they do not display it so you will know how concerned with animal welfare.

AZA is an esteemed Accreditation. AZA members have to abide by the high standards of care for the animals under their care to retain their accreditation.

Below are important ways AZA members are regulated to ensure high standards of quality animal care:

– Animal welfare & management
– Veterinary care
– Behavioral enrichment
– Nutrition
– Safety
– Staff training

Clearly animal sanctuaries are held to a higher level of accountability than those which are not. They must re-complete the entire accreditation process every 5 years or they loose their AZA accreditation status.

Fact 2: They Keep Resident Animals Even If They Don’t Look Pretty Anymore

An interesting fact is that legitimate sanctuaries and zoos do not needlessly terminate the lives of their animal residents.

Some zoos have a difficult time keeping large, happy crowds. If they have old, worn out, or disfigured animals that are in less than optimum health it may be even more challenging to keep high attendance. Sadly, many less than pristine animals are euthanized if they aren’t attractive or healthy enough anymore.

It’s hard to believe that these beautiful creations of God are discarded if they don’t look the part.

Fortunately, animals in legitimate sanctuaries do not have to be worried about being euthanized if their visual appeal wears off. It’s always good to ask the sanctuary or zoo you are visiting about their policies on euthanization of animals for non-health related reasons prior to visiting them.

Fortunately, there are some true sanctuaries and zoos that will not terminate animals without good reason.

Fact 3: Many Animals Were Previously Oppressed

An interesting and also sad fact is that many animals in sancturies have previously been abused, neglected, or in distressful situations. Animals are not bought by the sanctuary from animal breeders, illegal animal dealers, or by other shady means. Instead they take in oppressed animals.

The animals often come from circuses, were confiscated by legal authroities, or sometimes surrendered by owners that can no longer care for them.

Sadly many of the animals have anxiety problems.

Anxiety often arises from abuse, being beaten during ‘training’, clostrophobic cages, unsanitary living conditions, or an array of other situations. Many animals have been starved, fed a wrong diet, forced to live in extreme heat, cold or other weather as well. Many sanctuary animals were treated so fearfully before ariving that they have permanent anxiety problems that can even require medication.

Fact 4: Breeding Is Stongly Avoided

Another interesting fact is that true animal sanctuaries are not in the breeding business.

They are not there to breed animals but to provide them refuge and relief for the remainder of their previously oppressed life. Sanctuaries often try to seperate males and females of the same species to prevent expansion of the sanctuary population. That way there is as much room as possible for accepting animals in distressed circumstances instead.

Fact 5: Animal Welfare Is The Goal – Not Animal Spectating

A final interesting fact about animal sanctuaries is that animal welfare is the top priority, even above animal specating.

Most animal lovers enjoy going to the zoo to see the amazing creatures. It’s incredible to see many of the common and exotic animals that reside there.

Many animal sanctuaries allow visitors and patrons to visit as well, and desperately need funds. It should be noted, however, that while many animal sanctuaries allow visitors, animal welfare is the first priority. As mentioned earlier in this post, many animal facilities that pretend to be sanctuaries are not legitimate.

True animal sanctuaries will ensure that animal welfare is valued above spectating or other activities that may compromise the well being for their animal residents. There may be times, or specific animals that are not available to be viewed by the public in interest of the animals’ well being.

Similarly, it’s unlikely that you will find them showing the animals at seminars, on television, or allowing the public to touch or handle them. After all, animal welfare is the objective at legitimate animal sanctuaries.

Concluding Remarks

These are just a few interesting facts about animal sanctuaries. Again, before visiting or supporting a sanctuary, please ensure it’s AZA accredited, and take animal welfare very seriously.

Many of the legitimate animal sanctuaries give animals who have lived terrible lives a peaceful home to live out the remainder of their days.

Please consider supporting or volunteering for an AZA accredited animal sanctuary today.

Thank you for reading this post and return often to read other appealing and interesting articles on topics of animal welfare, and more.

With warm regards,

-Randy / Animal Weekly staff