As we get asked many questions about our sanctuaries, we have created an ‘Ask Our Sanctuaries’ series to answer these questions in depth.
This week, Jeta Lepaja, Content Creator for FOUR PAWS Sanctuaries, runs us through the question
“How do the sanctuaries work to create a species-appropriate environment for their animals?”:
“The enclosures` size and design plays a key role in complying all the animal`s needs. The spacious natural enclosures allow our animals to establish and follow their own daily routine, including running, strolling, foraging, species-specific communication (shrub on trees, keeping distances), hiding if they want to, bath, play etc. Following a basic principle of all FOUR PAWS Sanctuaries and partner projects, the animals are not being put on display, the overall focus is on creating an environment worth living in for the animals whereby the interactions with humans are reduced to a minimum. Visitors are given the possibility to get an impression of the everyday life of our animals, but it is intrinsic to our projects that animals can decide if they want to be seen or prefer to withdraw.
Our aim is to always encourage the animals to conduct all these natural behaviours and reduce possible stress situations. In order to create a species-appropriate environment for them, we make sure that in their surroundings they have the following key items at their disposal: natural vegetation (trees, ground, grassland, bushes) as much as possible of the overall area of the enclosure has to consist of natural ground but never less than 80%, open grassland, terrain rich in variety and wooden structures, water resources (possibility to take a bath, swim), hidden areas and possibilities to retreat, sleeping and resting places, the possibilities of building caves for hibernation, elevated observation/viewing platforms etc. Furthermore we provide the animals with an entire range of Behavioural and Environmental Enrichment to encourage the display of natural behaviours, keep them occupied, and stimulate their natural playfulness and curiosity.”
You can find the first instalment in this series, "Are the animals at FOUR PAWS sanctuaries better off in the wild?” here.