December 2023

A Pawsitively Wonderful Year: Reflecting on 2023

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As the year ends and the holiday season is upon us, I want to take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve shared together in 2023. This year has been filled with heartwarming stories, tireless dedication, and boundless compassion from every one of you. Our shared commitment to the welfare of animals-in-need has made a tangible impact on the lives of many. From rabbits to elephants, your collective efforts have not only provided them with shelter, food, and medical care but also with a renewed sense of hope and peace.

Throughout the year, we witnessed the strength of our sanctuary community as you rescued animals from deplorable conditions, labored to rehabilitate animals for release to the wild, and worked tirelessly pushing forward legislative and advocacy efforts to create a better world for those who cannot speak for themselves. These countless success stories, the rehabilitation journeys, and the forever adoptive homes found when appropriate, are a testament to the power of our shared cause.

As we gather during this festive season, let’s celebrate not only the victories but also the bonds we’ve formed and the connections that have blossomed within our community. From the shared successes, challenges, and mutual support offered during monthly GFAS roundtables to the recognition and celebration of excellence through the GFAS Carole Noon and Outstanding Sanctuary Awards, the unwavering dedication to our common cause have created a community that is truly something special.

As we step into a new year, let’s carry the lessons learned in 2023 with us. Let’s continue to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves, extend a helping hand to animals-in-need, and foster a community where compassion knows no bounds. Thank you for being a vital part of GFAS.

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season!



Valerie Taylor, Executive Director

Thank you!

Thanks to your generosity on Giving Tuesday, we moved closer to our goal of raising $5,000, for travel expenses to perform site visits at animal sanctuary and rescue facilities.

Thank you for your dedication to the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and our mission to accredit and recognize sanctuaries and rescue centers, support them to achieve the highest Standards of Excellence, promote collaboration, and raise awareness of their work.

On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, and most importantly, the sanctuaries and animals we serve, we say thank you.

If you’d like to help us reach our goal, there is still time to make a tax-deductible donation for 2023. Without your dedication and generosity, none of our work would be possible.

Big Cat Rescue’s Sanctuary Operation Takes a Bow

Since 2011, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) has been proud to accredit, Big Cat Rescue (BCR), a longstanding champion of captive wildcats and outstanding sanctuary for those rescued from abuse and neglect. BCR also spearheaded a successful bobcat rehabilitation and release program, that returned orphaned, or injured, Floridian bobcats back to their wild lives. In 2019, GFAS was pleased to award BCR founder, Carole Baskin, with our annual, Carole Noon Award. This award is presented to an individual who embodies and puts into practice the GFAS philosophy of vision, dedication, and excellence in animal care at sanctuaries.

In the next of Big Cat Rescue’s nine lives, many of the animals are being moved to their new digs at GFAS Accredited, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The two organizations have entered into an agreement to move BCR’s cats to Turpentine Creek where BCR will continue to fund their care for the rest of their lives. The decision-making process behind the move is laid out by Howard Baskin at this link. GFAS welcomes this extraordinary agreement in an effort to ensure the future care of the animals at Turpentine Creek, an outstanding sanctuary with one of the most highly-skilled and experienced teams in the U.S.

For Carole and Howard Baskin, Big Cat Rescue was never going to be an organization with a single focus, and thus their mission also included driving hard at the root of the big cat crisis in America. For over a decade, the Baskin’s worked to pass a federal bill that would ban the ownership of big cats and stop roadside zoos from offering cub petting and photo opportunities with young cubs. The pair made continual visits to congressional representatives in Washington, D.C., while enabling sanctuary visitors to contact their legislators directly from a phonebank at the end of the tour. Every year, the legislation would fail for one reason or another, but the Baskin’s never gave up. Finally, in 2022, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, was passed. The Baskins had been there at every step.

Carole and Howard won’t be riding off into the sunset anytime soon. Big Cat Rescue plans to continue their commitment to conservation projects that protect wildcats both in captivity and in their natural habitats.

From all of us at GFAS, thank you, Carole, Howard and Big Cat Rescue for being standout leaders in the sanctuary field and beyond. Your vision, mentorship, and collaboration, has impacted so many of us working to improve the lives of animals. Above all, we are so grateful for your unwavering love for wildcats, large and small, which meant countless precious animals that once endured suffering, were finally afforded love, respect and the softest of landings in your true sanctuary.

To follow Big Cat Rescue’s continued work please visit:


GFAS Round Table Wrap-Up

GFAS hosted our final Round Table discussion in November, on the topic of year-end fundraising. These Round Table sessions are informal online gatherings of staff, volunteers, and board members from our accredited and verified sanctuaries and rescue centers, to share information, network, and learn from each other.

This year, we held five Round Tables with other topics including advocacy, education and outreach programs, employing green and sustainable practices at your sanctuary, and dealing with loss. Our Round Tables are one of the benefits of GFAS certification, and we have enjoyed meeting sanctuary directors, caregivers, education directors, board members, and volunteers. And we learn something new during each session, which helps us to better understand how we can help our sanctuaries to help animals!

We’ll be announcing our first Round Table of 2024 shortly after the new year, and welcome suggestions from our sanctuaries about the topics of interest to them!


Holiday Shopping that Gives Back

Looking for a meaningful gift for the animal lover in your life? Look no further. We’ve curated a selection of sanctuary merch that will cover everyone on your list. Although this is a small selection of excellent sanctuary shops, most sanctuaries have a store online you can support – and we encourage just that!

Wearing sanctuary merch helps spread the word about their work, provokes important conversations, and is an easy way to wear your heart on your sleeve! This year we’ve seen super unique one-time sponsorship opportunities that make SUCH cool gifts as well.


Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries– best gift packs and unique sponsorship gifts
Pasado’s Safe Haven– beautiful apparel designs and home gifts with a compassionate message
Catskill Animal Sanctuary– amazing, vegan forward apparel and kids options
Barn Sanctuary– compassion-touting designs for everybody in your life. We’ll take one of everything.


Skydog Sanctuary– horse pajamas? Say less.
Little Longears– coolest holiday socks
The Dorset Equine Rescue – beautiful horse-themed gifts
Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue – gifts for the draft horse lover!


Global Sanctuary for Elephants
– gifts for humans and elephants!
Bat World Sanctuary– coolest plushies, ornaments, wrapping paper and more!
Chimp Sanctuary NW– beautiful apparel designs, sew-on patches, tumblers and stickers
Animals Asia– Striking messages on black/white design, adorable plushies and more



Over the past month, GFAS has renewed two groups!

Congratulations to these groups!


Lilongwe Wildlife Center, Malawi
Three Ring Ranch, Hawaii

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