img_20130921_005517In Sochi a team of concerned volunteers is hoping to launch a shelter for exotic animals that have become victims of the animal photo industry on the Black Sea beaches. Here, visitors will be able to get to know these gentle creatures in their natural environment, without supporting an industry of animal abuse.

Big Hearts Foundation has been helping them run a raising awareness campaign – printing and distributing  leaflets about the cruelty of animal photo business to 20000 thousand tourists in Sochi.

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Sochi is the most visited resort in Russia. You can see many street photographers offering a snapshot with exotic animals and impose them on passersby.

At first sight for many Russians this looks funny and harmless: monkeys, lemurs, parrots and other animals, which are available for direct contact. But if we dig deeper we can learn about the harsh reality:

679656-img-1369192721-9During the summers inhumane and cruel treatment has been observed by our volunteers: beatings, declawing and removing of teeth without anesthesia, lack of food, water and appropriate conditions for the performance monkeys, lemurs and parrots. After the summer the hustlers discard them like junk, usually with broken bones and a variety of illnesses. Few people know, that animals that are used as models for tourist pictures, were taken from the wild at an early age. To get these babies, their mothers were killed. Some studies estimate that during the process of sourcing 1 wild photo model animal, about 50 others are killed.

With such a harsh reality, it is impossible to remain indifferent. Thus was born the idea of creating an alternative in Sochi, a rescue and education center under the name “Life without a cell”. It all started when one of our fellow members Elena Panciuc took in injured lemurs rescued from street photographers. The act of Elena pushed other followers to take Slow Loris and other animals in their homes and provide them with medical care. These animals need a natural environment to live in and many more need rescuing. The public needs to see how these animal really need to live and that they are not just goods or props.

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The goal of the project “Life without a cell” is to create Loris Parka rescue shelter that can be visited and animals can be observed from a distance. This would be the only such place with rare species of animals and will provide a large educational function. We have been offered a unique almost free property to do this if we can raise the funds for its interior/ equipment.

This centre would give visitors a humane alternative for the visitors to get acquainted with the animals with no harm to them, without encouraging the business of photo hustlers. It will play a vital part in letting people know what entertainment belongs in the last century and how animals really need to be living.

The main goal now project is to raise funds for the construction of the vet centre / quarantine room, a natural piece of jungle, rescue bird aviary, place for breeding of mealworms and a small administrative area. The total amount the group needs to raise to make this a reality is 9000 euros.

Any contribution to this will not go unnoticed – many animals will not get tortured whilst being subjected to heat, they will not be beaten, their teeth will be ripped out so they don’t bite the tourists.

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