A royal Bengel tiger at the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary spies on visitors from behind a tree after waking up from a nap in the sun. The Bengal tigers at the zoo were rescued and brought to Austin after living their lives in a circus. Erin Rogers, Sentinel Leisure Editor
By Erin Rogers, Sentinel Leisure Editor
December 6, 2012 | Leisure
Most would say that one zoo is like any other zoo – lions and tigers and bears – but they are always fun for a family trip and great for learning about animals that we don’t usually have the opportunity to see in the United States.
This weekend, I made a trip to the Austin Zoo, in south Austin, thinking it would be like any other zoo I’ve been to around the country.
But the first thing I noticed, before I even got out of my car, was that it is tucked away in the outskirts of Austin – far enough out to where I was starting to get the feeling that I was in the wrong place.
The next thing I noticed (after I decided to stick it out and believe I was going the right way before turning around for a different route) was that it’s not only a zoo – it’s an animal sanctuary.
The zoo’s mission is to assist animals through rescue, rehabilitation and education. They call themselves a “rescue zoo,” and they obtain their animal residents by rescuing them from unfortunate circumstances.
Those circumstances range from being former circus animals or monkeys who have spent their lives in research laboratories, to exotic birds and other animals who have been kept inappropriately as pets. The Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary provides a safe and secure home out in the country so that they can live the rest of their lives in peace, being taken care of and pampered at the sanctuary by a staff of animal lovers.
Once I learned this, I thought I would be walking around looking at animals that might be, well, sickly or sad. But that wasn’t the case at all.
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