Press Release

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Abandoned or neglected wild animals start a new life at the National Institute of Ecology

▷ Construction of a wildlife sanctuary caring for 400 animals began  

Sejong, December 9 - The government took a new step to protect wild animals such as raccoons and meerkats that cannot be released into the wild or adopted by individuals to keep them in a protection facility safely without animal euthanasia. 

On November 30, the Ministry of Environment (Minister Han Wha-jin) and the National Institute of Ecology (President Jo Do-sun) held a groundbreaking ceremony to construct a wildlife sanctuary. President Jo Do-sun of the National Institute of Ecology, Director General Kim Jong-ryul of the Nature Conservation Bureau of the Ministry of Environment, and representatives of the seven wildlife rescue centers across the country attended the ceremony. 

The Ministry of Environment started constructing a wildlife sanctuary according to the "Wildlife Protection and Management Act" amendment passed by the National Assembly on November 24. It is also a follow-up measure of an MOU signed by the Ministry of Environment, local governments, and wildlife rescue centers on February 23. The Amendment to the Wildlife Protection and Management Act includes provisions on the ban of an exhibition of wild animals in facilities other than zoos and aquariums, such as wild animal cafe, and the construction of protection facilities to manage wild animals that may be abandoned or neglected. The Ministry of Environment and the National Institute of Ecology were able to prepare for the construction of a wildlife sanctuary at the same time as the law was revised by pushing for establishing a wildlife sanctuary even before the amendment passed the National Assembly. The wildlife rescue centers will temporarily care for abandoned and neglected wild animals before the sanctuary is completed at the end of 2023. 

The size of the wildlife sanctuary to be built inside the National Institute of Ecology is 1,061 m2, and it can care for 300 to 400 animals. The facility also has breeding rooms, quarantine rooms, and wildlife release sites. The government plans to install a behavior enrichment facility to provide animals with a safe, pleasant environment.

As a rule, the wildlife rescue facility will try to find owners for abandoned/neglected animals. If they don't find owners, those wild animals will be released into the wild, adopted by another individual, or euthanized. Animal euthanasia was inevitable for raccoons or meerkats as such species could not be released into the wilderness or adopted by individuals. However, before the opening of the sanctuary, the wildlife rescue facilities will temporarily care for those species and send them to the sanctuary once it is completed. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment plans to construct another wildlife sanctuary on the land recovered from contamination. This sanctuary is three times larger than the sanctuary inside the National Institute of Ecology and can care for 800 wildlife. 

Kim Jong-ryul, Director-General of the Nature Conservation Bureau, said, "Abandoning wild animals may disrupt the ecosystem and cause zoonosis. Therefore, we believe that the wildlife sanctuary will protect people and the ecosystem and improve animal welfare." 

Jo Do-sun, President of the National Institute of Ecology, said, "The NIE will take care of wild animals abandoned for various reasons as best as possible. We will also focus on raising public awareness and educating the public so that people neither raise nor abandon wild animals recklessly."

Contact: Cho Eung-chan, Deputy Director

Biodiversity Division / +82-(0)44-201-7244

Foreign Media Contact: Chun Minjo(Rachel)

+82-(0)44-201-6055 /