Due to lack of awareness, rehabilitation centers, resources, and lack of knowledge towards wildlife, the Animal Encounter was started on May 1993, in a 300m2 backyard's home of Mounir and Diana Abi Said, in collaboration with Green Line Association. The Animal Encounter is a unique experiment in raising public awareness. It works towards the elements of education, students and teachers, that is a key that lead the way to sustainable development. The center contained native and wild animals, native and migratory birds, which were brought wounded, nurtured, and cured, and then released into the wild habitat, whenever possible. In the period from May 1993 - 1997, the team-work has organized hundreds of education encounters (more than 25,000 students) and many teachers from schools across the country come to learn about the animals, their behavior, habitat and the importance of protecting them.
In view of the success of the center, which is unique not only in Lebanon, but in the surrounding region as well, the increasing numbers of visitors on one hand, and the lack of space on the other, the Animal Encounter was relocated, to a land of 2156m2 that was donated by the municipality of Aley, on December 7, 1997.
The Animal Encounter in its new location is found in a remote place from the town. It is situated in an area called Ras-El-Jabal. Since its relocation, the center has been visited yearly by more than 30,000 visitors*, more than half of which were students. The students and groups visiting the center were entitled to different educational programs, which consists of detailed presentations and sessions on the Lebanese wildlife, its conservation, biodiversity, and environment in general, followed by guided tour on the live animals inhabiting the center, as well as other programs according to the visiting groups’ interests and demands.
* (except during war time, since July 2006)
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