Staff with elephants in Thailand


Innovative solutions

How World Animal Protection supports animal sanctuaries

Here at World Animal Protection we work with wild animal venues such as sanctuaries and rescues to offer a way out of cruel wildlife tourism with innovative solutions towards wildlife friendly alternatives.

Are you a venue looking to become part of the solution? We're here to help;

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How to spot a genuine animal sanctuary

Supporting an animal sanctuary can often seem like the ethical and compassionate thing to do for those of us who love animals. However, many venues marketing themselves as "sanctuaries" or "rescue centres" are actually exploiting wild animals to attract customers. Read on to find out you can spot the red flags.

1. Is the safety of the animals and people put first?

Wild animals can be unpredictable, so safety should be a priority at any sanctuary. Substantial safety barriers are there to protect both the animals and people; no animal rides should be available, and venue staff should not be using hooks or other tools to control animals.

2. Is contact with the animals allowed?

A reputable venue will never allow visitors to touch or handle the animals. Activities such as posing for photos, walks with, or feeding are all red flags.

3. Are the animals behaving naturally?

The animals should be able to freely move around and express natural behaviours such as roaming, grazing, and socialising. Venues promoting animals performing acts, adorned in clothing or decoration, or coming into contact with people should be avoided.

4. Are the animals free to roam in enclosures that mimic their natural habitats?

Cramped cages, visible pacing paths and concrete floors are all signs of unsuitable and unnatural environments. A genuine wildlife sanctuary will do its utmost to replicate a wild environment by providing the animals with places to eat, sleep, hide, and parole naturally.

5. Are their baby animals being bred at the venue?

A genuine animal sanctuary will not promote breeding as this only contributes to the issue of wild animals in captivity.

Discover our work helping venues transform to genuine, ethical animal sanctuaries:

Supporting Elephant Venues


Discover our work supporting elephant tourism venues to transform into genuine sanctuaries where elephants can be free, to just be elephants.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of our Romanian bear sanctuary


Libearty, the bear sanctuary we created with Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni (Millions of Friends Association), has been rescuing and looking after bears for a decade. Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter, is visiting the sanctuary with us to celebrate.

Livestream: watch rescued bears at Romania sanctuary


If you're bored or hoping to bring some positivity to your day, try spotting some of Libearty sanctuary's 106 rescued bears.

World Animal Protection

Europe’s first ever elephant sanctuary provides a safe haven to former circus elephants

Press release

World Animal Protection has joined forces with Elephant Haven to help fund Europe’s very first elephant sanctuary in France for former circus elephants.

10 years, 87 bears: Stories from our Romanian bear sanctuary


People often try to tell us it’s impossible to save wild animals from poaching, wildlife entertainment and trade. That’s when I draw strength from the work we do to protect bears.

Kate Nustedt

30 years and counting protecting bears


For three decades we have worked, alongside partners and with our supporters, to end the suffering of bears.