|Athena Demos - Model, Extraordinaire|
Altruism and Philanthropy are two concepts I want to ensure I incorporate into my life with everything I do. Along with, of course, being nice to people and treating others with respect the same way you should insist people treat you. I've tried to make it a point to pick up a cause and support it, but I've neglected this over the last two or three years, particularly since I've been gone on this journey. This is why I am choosing to begin my monthly support of the Cchocahuasi Animal Sanctuary.
|Athena Demos holding Eagle feathers at Cchocahuasi Animal Sanctuary|
|Athena Demos, posing with an Andean Condor|
But I haven't had another Give Back cause that I felt led to help until late this past September when I accepted Athena Demos' invitation to accompany her to the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary. I didn't think much of it at first. I didn't know what to think really. But let me set a few things straight. Two things, specifically. There is a difference between a ZOO and a SANCTUARY.
|Finishing up construction on a new clean water reservoir|
I read several of the reviews and many people lauded the care and attention given to the animals there. However, there were also some reviews that were sprinkled in there accusing the sanctuary of being a zoo intimating that they never release these animals. And this is the second item I wanted to make clear. I got the chance to see the entire sanctuary and was introduced to the many habitats. I saw a hawk who I was told would never be released. It had one eye and permanent injuries. It would never make it out in the wild again. There are also animals who were abandoned at an early age and raised there that, as orphans, were never taught to survive on their own. They won't leave either.
|Yeah, I wasn't getting in with her.|
So, SANCTUARY... vs ZOO. There is a difference. And these guys depend on the donations and the entrance fees they get by inviting people to come out and visit. Part of what they have to do is showmanship. I read where some fool complained that they make the condors fly down over people's heads. Hell yeah, they do!! I got so see it multiple times! It was fascinating! What else are they supposed to do? They put on a show and then teach you something about them. I didn't know they were so friggin' BIG! And I didn't know they don't really fly, they soar! They soared down over our heads and landed. Then they WALKED back up to their habitats! If they do fly, it's for really short distances to "jump" more or less.
|Andean Condors, female in the foreground, Male in back.|
Right now, they are doing everything they can to have larger enclosures to make the animals more comfortable. I was there when they had just added on to a monkey habitat and then knocked a hole in the adjoining wall so they could enter the new place. I got to sit and talk with the guys who work there. It's not easy to come up with solutions. They are in Cusco and they told me about attempts to acquire solar panels to heat some of the enclosures when it gets cold during the winter. They are not just looking for money, but rather also donated items! But yes. It takes money to feed the animals. It takes money to build more and larger enclosures. And it takes money to provide medicine and vet care for the wounded and sick. This is a first-rate sanctuary.
|Andean Speckled Bears|
Thank you for your generosity!