Since beginning this blog I have been staggered by the size and scope of problems facing wild and domestic animals throughout the world. From the captive animal trade to highway deaths animals face terriffic threats from uncaring humans.
The captive animal trade is thought to be in the top three illegal trades in the world along with drug dealing and drug running. People, usually wealthy people, trade in exotic animals for their selfish pleasure.
Even among domestic animals the damage caused by selfish humans is enormous. Most of the world has stray dogs and cats. The animals are often sought out as kittens and puppies but when they lose their babyish appeal they are abandoned.
China has a particularly serious problem. The growing wealth of the country means many people have more money and get pets which are then abandoned. The Chinese government estimated 50 million stray dogs in 2019 and the number is said to be doubling often.
Enter Zhi Xiang. He is a Buddhist monk in Shanghai who has devoted his temple and a shelter he runs to saving stray dogs and cats. He began his rescue mission when he saw a cat hit by a car. The animal was dragging itself to the side of the road by two paws. Soon he was searching for animals in need of help. He has found far more than he bargained for.
His Bao’en Temple and the associated Hu Sheng Yuan shelter currently house several thousand dogs. The rescue effort now requires dog food by the ton. Zhi Xiang did not accept donations until 2017. But the rising tide of stray and injured animals made him reconsider. He is now accepting donations through the temple website. He has also found volunteers to help him.