We are a Not for Profit organisation dedicated to providing accurate information on ethical animal sanctuaries worldwide.
If you're organising a holiday to an animal sanctuary, planning a work/volunteer experience or wishing to donate, you can find ethical animal protection sanctuaries and organisations here on the WASP site.
After traveling the world I became aware of the numerous sanctuaries that were available for animal protection. I witnessed the struggles and hardship they have undertaken, the red tape of corruption from authorities along with the high costs of protecting animals from poaching and trafficking. To me it was quite apparent I needed to help, but how? I became overwhelmed at how animals need protection and wondered how I could make a difference. I decided that building awareness while assisting travellers to make healthy choices for their adventures, along with the ease of not being stung and misguided on their way. WASP International was born, from a pure love and respect of our world's wildlife. At WASP we are a team of dedicated volunteers who assists ethical sanctuaries with online tourism. These parks and sanctuaries have opened their hearts to the protection and preservation of our wildlife. These animals have generally come from unlawful circumstances and are being rehabilitated; a majority of them are unable to be returned into the wild. They are animals that have been rescued from zoos, the canned hunting industry, wildlife that have been surrendered because people can no longer care for them, animals that have been confiscated from private homes and parks due to unlawful practices. This site is my gift to all ethical sanctuaries, a free directory service so you the traveller can choose a healthy ethical tourist park for day visits and weekly or monthly volunteering. At WASP International you will have peace of mind that you will not only be aiding wildlife preserve but that you will also have life fulfilling experience that you will remember for years. Travel wisely, Michelle
With the increase of GAP year experiences and social media, doors have opened to good and bad sanctuaries, parks and internet travel agencies. At WASP International, we feel a responsibility to educate and inform tourists of the ethical animal sanctuaries around the world, so we have created a list of ethical sanctuaries and parks giving you peace of mind that you have made a healthy ethical choice. This list is growing and we will endeavour to keep you up to date with location guides, news and events. WASP is committed to supporting ethical sanctuaries that have devoted their lives to the rescue and protection of wildlife, it's about not supplying the canned hunting industries, not being a breeding facility so animals can be sold to hunting parks, tourist parks and zoos for show and tell. Our guide is your guarantee that the sanctuaries you have chosen are fulfilling ethical requirements and are dedicated to the protection of the animals in their care.
No captive breeding (with a potential
exception for solely those organizations that have certified
reintroduction programs). This is also limited to endangered
species. No breeding for commercial purposes allowed whatsoever,
even if a reintroduction program would follow as an outcome of
No commercial trading in animals or animal parts. Commercial trading includes, but is not limited to, breeding for profit, buying, selling, borrowing or loaning animals.
Does NOT remove animals from the wild for their sanctuary, rescues or takes part in the rescue of those that have already been removed, and participates in the rehabilitation and release of wildlife wherever possible.
No physical contact allowed from visitors or unqualified volunteers, unless supervised by a qualified member of the sanctuary. Physical contact includes, but is not limited to, touching, petting, stroking. Qualified means education and experience in animal husbandry, animals care courses, veterinary and veterinary nursing to name just a few.
Tours must strictly be conducted for educational purposes and in a manner that does not cause the animals stress, and gives them the ability to seek undisturbed privacy and quiet. Educational purposes means educating visitors on ecology and ethical conservation measures.
No use of animals for human entertainment or scientific testing allowed.
The organization must offer clean adequate housing, veterinary care, nutrition, and overall animal well-being.
The organization must have adequate handling policies, as well as standards on physical facilities, records and staff safety in place.
100% financially funded by our sponsors and volunteers. 100% of your donation will be forwarded to rescue centres, parks and sanctuaries for the safety and salvation of animals that are in need. Our main sponsors will be incurring all operation and running costs, promotional costs and bank fees, giving you peace of mind that your full donation will be forwarded to the specific park/sanctuary of your request.
Keepin up to date
On our news page you will be educated from people in the know, travellers abroad, specialists, conservation and animal protection agencies on what is happening around the world. There will also be travel diaries from tourist and volunteers that have been to sanctuaries on our website. This gives you first hand information and knowledge on what is happening at these sanctuaries. There are videos and a wealth of information that will help you travel to our ethical sanctuaries of the world.
Why use WASP International?
WASP International is free to use. When you use the WASP International site you will be guided to ethical parks and sanctuaries available in the area of you are travelling. The easy way to do this is with our interactive map.
How can you tell if a sanctuary is ethical?
Ethical sanctuaries support and rescue wildlife with the intention to rehabilitate and if possible release back into their natural habitat. They do not supply breeding and petting facilities for the purpose of human entertainment, neither do they trade in animal parts.
How do you know if a park is not taking care of the animals?
Does the animal have food and clean water?
Is there rest and shelter for the animals? Are the enclosures with little or no protection from weather?
Is the animal in pain and suffering? Poor nutrition and health caused by inadequate diet or little or lack of veterinary care. Some animals have their teeth or claws pulled which causes terrible suffering.
Is what you're seeing natural behaviours? Captive animals are often taken from their families. Many animals have complex social structures that cannot be recreated in captivity.
Are the animals in distress? Animals often suffer from high stress levels and psychological trauma caused by close confinement, inadequate conditions and cruel training methods. It's the cruelty you don't see that can be the most distressing.
What do you do if you find out a park or sanctuary is exploiting animals?
Make positive choices to support tourism that does not exploit wild animals. Visit WASP International link page or interactive map to find ethical sanctuaries globally.
Share this knowledge and speak up to animal welfare authorities and WASP International.
Help support animals in captivity by donating or making a pledge to be animal friendly on holidays. For more information, click here
How does WASP International regulate a sanctuary to staying within WASP International guidelines?
There are regular checks from our representatives worldwide that monitor and go through our list of requirements.
How to tell if a sanctuary or park is ethical?
Does NOT remove animals from the wild for their sanctuary, only rescues those already removed.
Takes part in rehabilitation and release wherever possible.
Does NOT buy, sell, borrow or loan animals.
Educates any visitor on ecology and conservation of the animal and its habitat.
Provides suitable enclosures, appropriate food, enrichment and veterinary care.
Does NOT allow inappropriate contact with visitors.
Does NOT have petting facilities.
Does NOT keep animals for human entertainment.
Meet the Team
Michelle Merrett - Founder/Director South American Coordinator
Allan Hutchinson - Major Sponsor
Maria Herczeg - Editor
Susanne Schroeder - Web
Jennifer Lee - Social Media Coordinator
Tim Woods - Asian Coordinator
Lauren Hush - Asian Coordinator
Alison Lee Rubie - African Coordinator
Tahnee Barnes - Endangered Species Coordinator
Ashley Kelly - Marine Coordinator