This is my first post here on my photo blog in quite a while In part due to moving (and preparing to possibly move back up north soon) and also due to focusing on my food photography/recipe blog project a lot more these past few months.
Last weekend I visited Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia (about 45 minutes south of Atlanta), a 250 acre sanctuary and rehabilitation center for abandoned and confiscated animals, many of them exotic animals rescued from shut down zoos or abusive private owners.
I brought my camera along hoping to get some photos of the rescued animals but what I found very interesting is that each enclosure has a sign with the animals name and the reason for the animal ending up at the sanctuary. The enclosures are very spacious and the potentially dangerous animals had multiple fences around their enclosure both of which made photographing the animals difficult so I instead took photos of each of the animal's name sign to try to show a piece of their story.
What made me the most intrigued and also sad about these signs is the fact that many of the animals had miserable lives before being abandoned to the sanctuary for selfish and foolish reasons. Many of them came from small Zoos that were set up to profit off the animals only to close or be shut down. Some of them were also owned by individuals who couldn't take care of them and just wanted to have a pet wolf or tiger and later had them confiscated. I was also surprised by how many animals were 'retired' from animal research and product testing.
Although this all sounds depressing I don't want that to overshadow how great of a place this is and the work they do for the animals. All the animals have large enclosures and there is a whole area not accessible to the public where horses goats and other animals wander freely on most of the 250 acre property. The volunteers are very helpful, one lady told me the stories of how a few of the animals ended up there in more detail and about the progress the animals have made since she's worked there.
They rely entirely on donations to stay operational. They do not charge admission for visitors of the exotic animal enclosure area (where these photos were taken) so if you live in Georgia and enjoy animals it's definitely something to check out. They also run programs for pet adoption.
You can see some better pictures of the animals, learn more about Noah's Ark and what they do, and donate on their website: http://www.noahs-ark.org/