Unlike many zoos and other places that own animals, Aquila Game Reserve respects the animals under its care. The reserve is over 7,000 acres; providing plenty of roaming area for elephants and lions. The animals live in their natural habitats so they are able to feed on the natural vegetation and are already acclimated to the weather. Furthermore, the reserve takes many precautions to ensure the safety of its animals. At one point, one of the rhinos living there was had its horn removed by poachers. Now the entire rhino herd is under 24/7 surveillance in addition to extra security at night for all the animals.
The reserve also serves as a place for visitors to gain respect and appreciation for nature. The tour guides for safaris provide information about the reserve and the animals. Our guide mentioned that the two male elephants living there were rescued from going to a circus. Stories like this make you rethink visiting circuses and zoos. Those animals are not in their natural habitats, they are often in tiny environments, and are forced to perform for spectators. At least at the reserve the animals can live safely and happily instead of being imprisoned.
Another positive thing about the reserve is the rehabilitation center. Many of the animals that are rescued live in this area for awhile until a permanent home is found for them or until they are healthy enough to live on the reserve. Currently, two crocodiles, a leopard, and lions are living there until they can be moved elsewhere. As the sign outside of the reserve mentioned, the less animals living in the rehabilitation, the better as this indicates less animals were in need of being saved from harmful situations.
Visiting Aquila was much more than just a fun weekend trip to ogle at majestic animals. I started to critically consider why reserves like this have to exist. Climate change, deforestation, and poaching has led to the extinction or near extinction of many species. All of those issues seem to have one common factor involved: humans. With every glacier that melts, forest that is cleared for a shopping mall to be built, and extinct species, the closer we are to ending our own human existence. It is time to consider the possibly irreversible consequences of our actions.