For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals
by guest blogger Ben Samford, age 8
I read The One and Only Ivan, which is about a gorilla who is in captivity for 18 years and then finally decides to take a stand and let people know about the kind of situation he was in. He wanted to be in a zoo, but he was in a small, broken down cage in a mall. Mack, the mall manager, made Ivan paint so they could sell his paintings for money.
This book made me start thinking about how animals in captivity are treated, so we went to visit a place where animals are rescued from captivity to live out their happy lives. This place was the Wild Animal Sanctuary of Colorado. The Sanctuary is a place where they go into places where animals are in bad situations and bring them out into small cages that slowly get bigger so they can adjust to a big place that is similar to a natural habitat. Not exactly the wild, but a bigger place that’s has more of their kind. These animals have been in illegal or abusive situations for so long, that they would never survive if they were released back into the wild. The Maya Angelou quote on the plaque above stuck out to me because it reminded me that I have a friend who owns a bird, but they never put it in it’s cage, it just flew around the house. The bird was free just like the animals should be free.
We saw tigers, lynx, bears, foxes, lions, leopards, wolves and other species. These animals came from bad places. Most of them came from people who were trying to keep them as pets. One was beaten unconscious for playing too rough, but you can’t really blame him because he’s a tiger! Other animals were kept by people to breed and sell illegally. Some of the wolves came from a Bolivian circus, but then a law was passed that they couldn’t use animals for stunts so they had to get rid of all the animals. I have learned that most of these animals have worse times with humans than they ever would have had in the wild. We can help them by making donations and visiting the Wild Animal Sanctuary.
Here’s a cool, short video of the tiger walking at the Sanctuary!