Do you have to have each pair walk separately?” he asks.
“It’s just me walking him alone and she says I’m lucky her legs are longer.”
While those close the animal rescue also see a sense in the need for a wider understanding of how human behaviour affects wildlife in the wild, the vast majority of the public still view it as an animal that comes to the rescue of a human.
The issue is one that is increasingly on people’s radar, with the animal welfare charity Cattle Trust stating recently that the number of “recreational trips” to wildlife sanctuaries had tripled in recent years due to increasing awareness and a “wider willingness to engage with wildlife” in response to the recent spate of animal attacks in the UK.
The charity says there are around 3.85 million Britons who take part in these visits, with a further 1.4 million in the UK, but that number has been estimated at between 10 million and 11 million by the charity’s founder, Dr Richard Thomas.
According to Cattle Trust, more than 20,000 people have been involved in one of these “explore” hikes this year alone, and while this may appear to represent a small percentage of the 1bn people who visit wildlife attractions, it’s certainly a significant figure.
For the average family of four, it might be tempting to think of a trip to a sanctuary as one that comes to them naturally, rather than as a result of professional advice from a vet, or the efforts of a rescuer.
But in many respects, it’s simply a trip for that specific person. In his research, Dr Thomas, found that people had a limited grasp of what was appropriate behaviour in their own wild animal companions. And they rarely went out of their way to seek guidance.
He said: “A lot of the people that go out and get involved are, for the most part, doing it because they wanted to, they’re looking to get some excitement into their lives.
“But they don’t really go from one place to the next to seek what they think is necessary to fulfil that interest.
“It can lead to them potentially being in places they’ve never been before – they can go to places they never intend to go in.
“When you do all of a sudden get involved in what appears to be something that involves a lot of anxiety, and a lot of stress for both of you, that can lead to that kind of
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