World’s Best Animal Sanctuaries

Sometimes it seems like there is so much pain and suffering caused to animals around the world, that there is no hope that things will get better. But luckily there are many organisations around the world fighting for animal rights – and with the help of charities, volunteers and visitors these organizations can help pave the way for a better future for animals. We’ve put together a list of 4 amazing animal sanctuaries from around the world to visit, so read ahead to remind ourselves that there is still hope for our animal friends.

Liberty Bear Sanctuary, Romania

Created in memory of Maya, who sadly died in captivity in 2002, Christina Lapin went on to create the Libearty Sanctuary to honor her promise to Maya that no other bear will ever go through what she has gone through. Since then over 130 bears have been rescued from an abusive nightmare life. Until they arrived at the sanctuary, some of them didn’t even know what it was like to climb a tree, hide from the sun on hot days, or enjoy deeper water for a bath. Many of them were kept in cages near restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, near cottages, and gas stations, as tourist attractions. There have also been cases of someone’s “immeasurable love” who, instead of letting them live in their natural environment, preferred to keep them behind bars. The Liberty Bear Sanctuary is recognized by many specialists as the most ethical sanctuary in the world, and boasts 69 hectares of oak forest, with trees where the bears can climb, swimming pools where they can splash, food according to their diets studied by the veterinarians and the necessary medical care. World Animal Protection even joined these efforts in the “Save the Captive Bear” Project – the largest project in Europe for the rescue, care, and welfare of the brown bear! Reading about the horrors these bears had endured and then seeing them finally happy brought tears to my eyes the first time I visited. If you ever find yourself in Romania I truly recommend a visit to the Liberty Bear Sanctuary. Check out our 4-night Brown Bear experience, where you not only get to visit the Liberty Bear Sanctuary but have a chance to spot brown bears in the wild.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, China

The giant panda, China’s national animal, is a global symbol of cuteness. But the black-and-white bears have long suffered, like many animals in history – poached for their pelts, smuggled out of the country as cubs to the U.S. and Japan, and taken by zoo collectors. By the 1980s, their numbers in the wild had fallen to just over a thousand. Extinction loomed. This led to the opening of the first non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. After 6 sick and starving giant pandas were rescued from the wild in 1987, Chengdu Research Base used the rescue pandas’ offspring to successfully breed the world’s largest population of captive giant pandas and by the end of 2021, had a population of 215 pandas. The base covers 165 acres and is located 6 miles north of Chengdu in the Futou mountains. There are brooks, lakes, rivers, woods, and wild bamboo forests. All of these stimulate the best pandas’ natural ecological environment. The giant pandas are not only a Chinese national treasure but are also beloved by people the world over and in 2021 Chinese conservation officials announced that they no longer consider giant pandas an endangered species!

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Australia

As the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary and with over 90 years of experience working alongside koalas, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is dedicated to continuing work in the field of koala research, as well as across a variety of other wildlife species. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was opened in 1927 by Queenslander, Claude Reid who initially opened with just two koalas, Jack and Jill, at a time when wild koalas were sadly being culled for the fur trade. It was quickly recognised by Claude that something had to be done to help protect one of Australia’s most iconic species. Dedicated to improving their knowledge of the iconic marsupial, staff at the sanctuary continue to support research investigating koala behaviour, disease, and infection, anatomy, physiology, captive management, nutrition, reproduction, and development. Lone Pine also collaborates with universities, government, students, and other reputable organisations, and over the years has contributed to hundreds of wildlife research projects. It’s the perfect place to visit one of Australia’s most iconic animals!

SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa

Established in 2000, The SanWild Private Wildlife Trust’s main objective is to provide a Private protected wildlife sanctuary where rescued animals could be returned to the wild to live their lives and raise their young. Over the years the sanctuary has played a meaningful role in wildlife conservation in a country where poaching & unethical hunting pose a major threat to ethical and biodiversity conservation. The site sits on just over 2600 hectares and allows successful rehabilitation and release of wild animals into a private protected sanctuary where they can be monitored until they are completely self-reliant! SanWild also provides a free emergency wildlife rescue service whenever and wherever a wild animal is in need. Although they are based in Limpopo, they rescue animals and work closely with veterinarians across all the provinces of South Africa! If you’re interested in visiting the SanWild Private Wildlife trust, check out our 14-night South Africa Experience here.

Planning a holiday? Consider making your next trip to an animal sanctuary, it’s a highly rewarding and wholesome activity! For any queries please contact info@untravelledpaths.com.

Written by Lucy Kaufmann