CHAPTER ANIMALS SANCTUARY :
The main objective of our association is to help animals. During our first year, Chapter Animals regularly helped pets, be it Saphira; donkeys Momo and Babar or the cow Marguerite. For the rescue of these animals, our association did not appeal to donations. Having not yet taken steps so that donations can be tax deductible, many are still hesitant activists today.
However, we will soon launch the steps to find land and finance the construction of sanctuary in France. We think, first, to make one for big cats from captivity - or traffic, like lions and panthers. We would like to create it in the south of France, so that they can benefit from a relatively warm climate, adapted to their natural needs. Our sanctuary could also be a place of transition, to make the departure of the animals towards South Africa and to finish their days on the lands of their ancestors, in sanctuaries worthy of the name like those of the Foundation Born Free* or the Drakenstein Lion Park**.
We also think that to take care of his big cats, it would be wise to call on former trainers who, from an objective point of view, know the animal perfectly. This would allow a conversion to animal welfare, without the need to continue to make them work. This method is not new and has already proven itself. In India, for example, former bear trainers are now a sanctuary and everything works very well. It's the same with elephants. It would also allow us to gain the confidence of the circus community, and be able to start real exchanges and initiate a possible transition.
On the other hand, we would like our sanctuary to welcome monkeys from the laboratory. Scientists may not know it, but they do not have to euthanize the animals they use. It will be much more expensive for them, than to give them to associations. In France, the lack of structure to accommodate monkeys from laboratory are enormous. As zoos and other zoos are relatively reluctant to accommodate these monkeys, we must make the decision to create a dedicated refuge. After years, seeing decades serving science, are they not entitled to a well-deserved rest?
We are also thinking of building on the African continent. There is a real danger there, for animals, and only adapted structures could help them. As for animals from captivity, nothing prevents them from returning to their ancestral lands. This is why we have already chosen two places in Africa. At first, the islands of São-Tomé & Principe, a real paradise on Earth for the local flora and fauna. While there are no lions, hyenas or hippos on the islands, there are many other species on the island. We also believe that the construction of an on-site sanctuary will help the local population to develop, and will allow the youngest to discover animals that they may never have seen before. Our second choice is, of course, to South Africa. Although many structures are already present, we know that they suffer from the lack of space and the difficulty to transport and accommodate all the animals they would like.
If, within our sanctuaries, the animals will benefit from the care and the treatments adapted to each individual, we would like, on the African continent, to be able to rehabilitate the maximum of individuals with the wildlife and that as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we know that this can be difficult, especially for big cats, who are often used to human contact. Many other species, from captivity, can never have a wild life. However, individuals taken from the wild, mainly cetaceans, are doing relatively well, so hope is allowed.
* The Born Free Foundation took care of lions that came from France. This is the case of the trio Shada, Nala and Djunka, who were held by a French circus and were supported by the NGO One Voice in 2006. This is also the case of Nelson, who came from a Zoological Park, Ciam and King, both illegally owned by individuals, who were saved thanks to the actions of the Foundation 30 millions d'amis, Refuge de l'Arche and the Natuurhulpcentrum Rescue Center between 2015 and 2018. Born Free Foundation would be ready to recover Bebe, Bellone, as well as Coralie, Nelson and Mandela, the other circus lions.
** The Drakenstein Lion Park took care of lions that came from France. This is the case of Ares, Brutus, Ena or Samson, rescued by the various French NGOs and the Natuurhulpcentrum Rescue Center between 2007 and 2010. It was in this same sanctuary that we made contact in order to place Nale (Elyo), Natcher (Sutan) and Betty.
*** The photograph taken to illustrate our article comes from the travel agency Satawa Destination. This photo shows the National Park Obô Natural Park of São Tomé and Principe where could be located near a future sanctuary.
In order to know if a captive animal is eligible to insert a sanctuary, several elements must be taken into account :
- Can the living conditions of the animal be improved if care, there is?
- Is the owner ready to give up the animal? Does the owner agree not to replace the animal? Have the authorities planned a seizure? Can our campaign help with the placement of the animal?
- Is a sanctuary available? If yes which ? Are the funds available to finance his land? The sanctuary, does it have the capacity to receive the animal?
- Does the animal have the consent of a veterinarian to travel or can it be treated to be fit for the trip?
- In case of departure abroad: did the authorities accept the export? Are the papers in order? Is it logistically feasible? And for the welfare of the animal?
- Are funds available for transport, food and animal care? For how long ? Can they be financed through donation campaigns or via a sponsorship system?