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Asheville, NC, United States, 2020/06/17 - Asheville will see a new Exotic Animal Rescue and Sanctuary (EARS) emerge. Its mission, to provide a permanent home to unreleasable exotic animals and to raise public awareness to the issues these species are facing in the wild and in captivity.
Asheville is about to get a little wild with the establishment of the new Exotic Animal Rescue & Sanctuary (EARS).
The new sanctuary stems from the recognition of several problems that exotic animals and wildlife have faced over the years. In the entertainment industry, the use of animals in circuses and magic shows has progressively been phased out and that change means more and more exotic animals will need safe sanctuaries that are equipped to handle their needs. The alternative is to euthanize these beautiful creatures after they have spent much of their life in service to humans.
“Pay-for-Play” operations and wildlife tourism both pose a risk to the animals. The Pay-for-Play operations, where the public pays to play with exotic animals, find less use for animals once they are too old to be handled and wildlife tourism often hides the toll it takes on the animals.
Private ownership of exotic animals is another area of concern. People purchase exotic animals only to learn very quickly that they don’t have the space, training or funds to properly care for their animals. Climate change and habitat loss are causing extinctions and new listings of endangered species every day. These animals need our help.
EARS wants to do their part by offering the rescue and sanctuary services these animals need. That will include providing a permanent home for those animals that were born in captivity and cannot be released into the wild. EARS will also offer rehabilitation services to injured and orphaned native wildlife.
“Another vital part of our plan is education,” said Chelsea Heath, Executive Director of EARS. “By educating the public on the indirect costs of things such as pay-for-play, animal entertainment acts, and the exotic pet trade, EARS leadership will bring awareness to these issues and help raise a generation that is passionate about our ecosystems!”
They hope to provide this education in three main ways. First, with guided tours of the sanctuary, ranging in price from $40 to $60. They also plan to offer campsite rentals that allow guests to experience the rarely heard nighttime vocalizations of their favorite animals. Finally, they will also provide five-day educational camps and retreats that offer a variety of activities, everything from guided tours to animal husbandry instruction.
Along with their mission to help exotic animals, EARS (ncears.org) also has a focus on sustainability and the environment. By using a biomimetic operations model, they plan to eliminate their waste and reduce the local community’s carbon footprint, setting them apart from other animal sanctuaries. By keeping themselves open to a variety of species and becoming accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), they plan to create a new standard for exotic animal rescue.