I accompanied my niece’s preschool class to the Surrey Reptile Refuge several years ago. Tucked away off 176 Street it houses reptiles that have been abandoned i.e. that cute little alligator Timmy got for his birthday that soon grew 6 feet thus being too big for the family bathtub.
You can view nearly 400 animals including snakes, crocodiles, spiders, frogs, lizards, turtles and more. The Refuge is run by the Rainforest Reptile Refuge Society, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and raising awareness about these exotic, often misunderstood, animals. [SurreyAttractions]
Mission Statement: To provide shelter and care for unwanted, abused and abandoned reptiles, amphibians and other exotic and native animal species, and encourage an awareness related to the behaviour, habitat and conservation of these animals for the benefit of the global community. [About]
The individuals who run the place are passionate about the animals, very knowledgeable but always seemed to be under a lot of stress as there was an obvious lack of funding for quite a while. Now at least 5 years after my visit, the refuge has closed its doors to the public.
The Fraser Valley’s only reptile refuge has closed its doors to the public as it runs out of funding. On Monday, the curator of the Surrey sanctuary asked council for $11,000 per month to continue operations. The request was referred to staff…
…The full-to-capacity shelter has been in financial trouble before and does not receive government funding. While the refuge is now closed to public guests, staff will continue to care for the animals as long as they can. [TheProvince]
I think the quote of the day in that Province article is, “it’s not really feasible to house crocodiles beside kittens.” No, no it’s not. These animals cannot go to the SPCA, they need this special place. But in order to even prevent this need, there has been a request for the government to step in to prevent the sale and keeping creatures like these as pets in various municipalities, at least without a specific license.
In the meantime, I think it’s wise to stick to puppies, kitties, hamsters etc. as pets because I certainly don’t want to end up in a city where a python doesn’t have a safe place to go.
To make a donation to the refuge, you can call (604) 538-1711 for more information. They also have a ‘wish list‘ up on their site including: Building supplies (wood, tools, etc.), food (fruit, vegetables, meat…), UV lighting, vet supplies and labour.
“The bottom line is these animals don’t belong in captivity; they are wild animals which aren’t domesticated.”