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Volunteering at Basondo, an Animal Sanctuary

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lhanson
Jul 10, 2014


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Service

Volunteering at Basondo, an Animal Sanctuary

Basondo, otherwise known as the Xabier Maiztegi Wildlife Foundation, is located on a windy road above Kortezubi, Spain. The animal sanctuary rehabilitates and cares for many local species, as well as exotic animals that have been wounded or cannot be re-released into the wild. Its residents range from large, shaggy European bison to small, slightly slimy salamanders.

Twelve Semester at Sea students and staff volunteered to spend their morning helping with mundane chores about the sanctuary. The main task: pulling the invasive (but delicious smelling) mint from the field where a small herd of deer live. The herb is harmful to their diets, yet grows plentifully underneath the Spanish sun. The reward: a sense of accomplishment and a grand tour of the entire operation… and holding a few new friends. With majors ranging from animal sciences to biology, every student wanted to play a part in helping this unique sanctuary.

The group sits beneath the sculpture by artist Agustin Ibarrola located at the entrance of the sanctuary. The piece, donated by the artist represents a rainbow placed over a totem to protect the animals taken in against the threats of the outside world.
The group sits beneath the sculpture by local artist Agustin Ibarrola located at the entrance of the sanctuary. The donated piece represents a rainbow placed over a totem to protect the animals taken in against the threats of the outside world.
Students had a fun linguistic challenge: the staff of the sanctuary was not fluent in English and none of the group was fluent in Spanish. With a combination of Spanish, English, a small bit of French and plenty of hand motions, students learned about how many of the animals came to live at the sanctuary.
Students had a fun linguistic challenge: the staff of the sanctuary was not fluent in English and none of the group was fluent in Spanish. With a combination of Spanish, English, a small bit of French and plenty of hand motions, students learned about how many of the animals came to live at the sanctuary.
Morgan Shaver of Iowa State University smiles at a true foreigner to this land: a camel.
Morgan Shaver of Iowa State University smiles at a true foreigner to this land: a camel.
One of two Iberian wolves at the sanctuary prowled about her enclosure. She and her sister both stalked up and down the pathways next to their homes, yellow eyes watching every move.
One of two Iberian wolves at the sanctuary prowled about her enclosure. She and her sister both stalked up and down the pathways next to their homes, yellow eyes watching every move.
Daniel Mulrow of University of Virigina looks up from one of Basondo’s newest residents: baby weasels. At right, a statue of the sanctuary’s founder, Xabier Maiztegi. Maiztegi was a veterinarian and naturalist as well as a founder for other centers like Basondo.
Daniel Mulrow of University of Virigina holds one of Basondo’s newest residents, baby weasels. At right, a statue of the sanctuary’s founder, Xabier Maiztegi, stands in the nature preserve section of Basondo. Maiztegi was a veterinarian and naturalist and founded other centers like Basondo.
Blair Baldwin, University of Maine, tackles a large section of mint in the deer enclosure. Waist height and surrounded by another “itchy and pokey”, as one of the staff members described it in his broken English, the mint was not as easy to pull as one might think… but it did smell good.
Blair Baldwin, University of Maine, tackles a large section of mint in the deer enclosure. Waist height and surrounded by another “itchy and pokey” weed, as one of the staff members described it in his broken English, the mint was not as easy to pull as one might think… but it did smell good.
Kelly Freeman, University of Washington, pictured at right with Lance Jones of Western State College, was first to jump in and hold a few friends with scales. Bright yellow salamanders are native to this region but many snakes are imported and then set free like they are in the United States.
Kelly Freeman, University of Washington, pictured at right with Lance Jones of Western State College, was first to jump in and hold a few friends with scales. Bright yellow salamanders are native to this region, but many snakes are imported and then set free.
The male fox evaluates students from his foxhole as one of the sanctuary staff entered his enclosure with a few treats. At right, an eagle shows his blind eye and ruffled feathers to students. He was one of the few animals where his injuries and reasons for being in the sanctuary were visibly present.
The male fox evaluates students from his foxhole as one of the sanctuary staff entered his enclosure with a few treats. At right, an eagle shows his blind eye and ruffled feathers to students. He was one of the few animals where his injuries and reasons for being in the sanctuary were visibly present.
In a momentary pause from pulling the ever-invasive mint, the Semester at Sea group jumps for animal loving joy.
In a momentary pause from uprooting the plant offenders, the Semester at Sea group jumps for animal-loving joy.
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