The spread of COVID-19 is a threat to the survival of thousands of animals in UK and European rescue centres and sanctuaries. Wild Futures, the UK charity that runs the Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall, joins Eurogroup for Animals in calling on Government to help them to get through the crisis.
Rescue facilities in the UK and Europe operate mainly thanks to the generosity of private donors and, in some cases, tickets sold to visitors. However, with the COVID-19 restrictions adopted in locked down countries, visitors aren’t coming anymore.
Rescue centres and sanctuaries offer a better life to animals that have suffered in substandard zoos, been cruelly exploited in circuses or abandoned by private owners or confiscated from illegal and unscrupulous traders. Many rescue facilities directly participate in the confiscation of the animals and in their subsequent translocation, often across national borders. Once an animal is taken into care by a rescue facility, significant costs are involved, including food, staff, medicine, veterinary care, construction, maintenance and heating.
The pandemic has only added to an already difficult situation in which housing for seized, confiscated or surrendered wild animals was severely limited, and rescue centres suffered from a chronic lack of consideration and funding. In the longer term, COVID-19’s disruption to countries’ economies and people’s savings could worsen the situation.
“The monkeys at our sanctuary, who have suffered so much trauma in their lives, now face the threat of Covid-19. Firstly, because non-human primates are also vulnerable to this terrible virus and, secondly, because Wild Futures depends on visitor income to fund its vital work. We do not know when it will be safe to open our doors again, even after the lockdown is lifted,” says Rachel Hevesi, Director of Wild Futures, primate welfare and conservation charity.
“An immediate problem faced by sanctuaries is that they cannot furlough their animal carers in order to make essential savings because the animals must still be fed, cleaned and cared for. Currently it is illegal for furloughed staff to volunteer their help for the animals who know and depend on them.”
Wild Futures is a board member of EARS, the European Alliance of Rescue Centres and Sanctuaries, which is joining forces with Eurogroup for Animals and its Member Organisations that carry out rescue activities, to call for the support we need.
Here you’ll find a list of organisations or rescue centres in Europe that need help.
These animals have been through enough already. We need help to get through the