Hello Critter Friends,
I’m writing today to discuss longevity of animals in captivity. At our facility, many of our collection ambassador animals live beyond a typical age for each individual in captivity or the wild. This is a testament to the loving care that we give to our rescued animals that cannot be released into the wild for various reasons. Often, many animals come in around the same time, and as such, their lifespans are similar in years, so we may have to say goodbye to multiple animals around the same time.
It can be a very stressful time for us as keepers, as we tend to get attached to our collection animals that we take care of day after day and year after year. But even after we say goodbye, we work towards making our facility a home for animals who cannot be released to the wild. When we have to say goodbye to our critters, we are sad, but we look towards the future when we can provide a home for non-releasable wildlife that would not be able to survive in the wild. We work with other facilities and a network of animal rehabilitators who need to place animals that are deemed non-releasable for many reasons. Because we are a place that offers sanctuary to non-releasable animals, who could not function or live out in the wild for various reasons, this process often takes time as we have to do research and look for animals that cannot be released to the wild. Each animal that may need a home here at the Virginia Living Museum is evaluated for suitability towards our mission and if the animal fits a particular criteria, we will consider taking it in for our ambassador animal programs or as an exhibit animal that might need special care.
This is a process that takes a little bit of time, but in the end, it is well worth it to make sure we have animals that are suitable for a life at the Virginia Living Museum as an ambassador for their counterparts out in the wild.