GFAS News November 2018

Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance 2018 Conference

GFAS Board of Director – Bill Nimmo – Founder of Tigers in America

This September, GFAS attended the annual Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance conference, hosted by Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, in beautiful Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The conference was a huge success with over 60 representatives attending from sanctuaries all over the United States as well as supporting organizations including GFAS, Tigers in America, IFAW, Outreach for Animals and many more. These groups came together to share ideas, common goals and discuss the growing need for true sanctuaries.  Shawn Kay, GFAS Wildlife accreditor for North America, worked with the BCSA steering committee and GFAS’ Board Member and Treasurer, Bill Nimmo, founder of Tigers in America and guest speaker, presented a compelling talk on international tiger rescues.

At the end of the two-day conference, Turpentine Wildlife Refuge, arranged for the attendees, to tour the sanctuary. They got the chance to observe the animals, meet the staff and learn about the group’s excellent animal care programs including enrichment, behavioral training, habitat design and more.

The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance allows true sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek to work together, discuss new methods of animal care, coordinate on potential rescues and advocate with one voice on behalf of captive animals. GFAS is honored to be a part of the Alliance and congratulates it on organizing a truly inspiring and successful conference.

To learn more about the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance and  its members visit

To learn more about GFAS accredited Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge visit

Farm Sanctuary Farm Animal Care Conference

In September, 2018, GFAS Program Director-Equine and Farm Animals, Valerie Taylor, was privileged to attend Farm Sanctuary’s annual Farm Animal Care Conference in Watkins Glen, NY.  This intensive, four-day event features workshops, lectures, and hands-on learning on topics such as starting and operating a sanctuary, animal care and caregiver techniques, and volunteer and visitor programs.  As the Conference is hosted by GFAS Accredited farm animal group, Farm Sanctuary, participants are fortunate to glean such unique insight and experience from one of the leading farm animal protection organizations in the U.S.  The event is really a must-attend for anyone interested in farm animal sanctuary work, or for those looking to refresh skills.  Information on the 2019 Conference, as it comes available, can be found on the Farm Sanctuary website, at

Equine Welfare Data Collective

The newly formed Equine Welfare Data Collective (EWDC) has officially begun to collect data from U.S.-based equine shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries.  This initial data set will focus on baseline data from rescues and sanctuaries such as: current capacity of rescues and sanctuaries, age, sex, breed of horses in their care, how many horses are taken in each year and similar. All data collected will be aggregated so no individual organization is identified, and all data will be used to help develop programs and solutions to fill any gaps in current programming, as well as measure progress in current initiatives. The EWDC hopes that all rescues and sanctuaries will assist in the effort to collect this much-needed data.  To submit data, see the online The survey posted on the EWDC webpage, at

How To Spot a Phony Wild Animal Sanctuary

GFAS was recently mentioned in an article on the Expedia website. The article, written by the Humane Society of the United States stated, “One way to determine if a sanctuary is on the up-and-up is to check if it is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). GFAS only accredits facilities that provide superior care, have knowledgeable and experienced employees, and are fiscally responsible.”

GFAS is very proud of our Accredited and Verified organizations as they are so dedicated to the animals have worked very hard to meet the GFAS standards.

You can read the article here.

Animals Asia Celebrates 20 Years

Photo courtesy of Animals Asia

This year, Animals Asia is celebrating its 20th anniversary! Since its founding in 1998, the organization has rescued more than 600 bears in Vietnam and China, the majority of whom came from bear bile farms.

Today, its GFAS Accredited bear centers in Chengdu, China and Tam Dao, Vietnam care for predominantly moon bears but also brown bears and sun bears, and employ over 250 Chinese and Vietnamese staff in bear care and other areas.

Animals Asia’s work extends beyond the sanctuaries as well, as it advocates not only for bears but for the welfare of dogs, cats, and captive wildlife, including a call to end the use of wild animals for entertainment. Among its many significant accomplishments, the Foundation signed an agreement with the Vietnamese government in 2017 to phase out all bear bile farms in the country over a five year period, which will rescue up to 800 bears to sanctuary.

Just last month, Animals Asia celebrated another milestone as it rescued its 200th bear in Vietnam, a female moon bear who was given the name “Precious.” We know that the next 20 years will bring even more milestones. Learn more about Animals Asia and all of its programs at its website.

Upcoming GFAS Online Application Process

GFAS is always working to make the application process for new groups and renewals easier and more efficient. To that end, we have been working on automating our application process. We are currently working with Survey Monkey Apply to set up the system. We are hoping to have the system up and running the first quarter of 2019. On-line applications will allow organizations to save and track their progress through the application. It will also allow us to store that information so that you will only need to update that information when it is time for the renewal process.