At Gaia, every four months, the sanctuary’s staff deworms all the birds at the sanctuary (ducks, geese, chickens, and turkeys). To do so, the staff treat each bird individually, applying a spray under each wing to free the birds of fleas, lice, etc., and giving each bird a few drops of syrup (Fembendazole), depending on the animal’s weight, to get rid of internal parasites. Veterinary protocols and routines are meticulously observed at the sanctuary. Carla is taking the birds out one by one for a better performance on thedeworming.

Wild Love

Ana Palacios

2023 — Spain

About this series

With the Wild Love project, photographer Ana Palacios documented a grassroots movement of people rescuing injured farm animals from slaughter to take them to places where the animals could live out their days with love.
Animal sanctuaries are havens in the countryside inhabited by vegan activists who are devoted, body and soul, to rescuing animals who have been abused or abandoned.
The activists remove these creatures from the supply chain and take them to large estates in the mountains where they heal and protect them, providing them with a safe place to live and a lifetime of care and attention until they die natural death.
Wild love is an ongoing documentary project started in 2020, carried out at four animal sanctuaries in Spain at the moment: El Hogar Animal Sanctuary, Gaia Sanctuary, Scooby and Eden Sanctuary.

The pond at El Hogar Animal sanctuary. In November 2020 it shelters 60 fish. © Ana Palacios
Five day old Armonia, at the Gaia sanctuary, was rescued from being sent to the slaughterhouse; she has a fractured tibia and her owners couldn’t take care of a sick sheep. As of October 2020, Gaia has 169 sheep and goats out of a total 534 so-called farm animals. All of them were rescued after being abandoned or seized by the police. Each animal has a name and a sponsor who pays for their food and veterinary expenses. These sanctuaries do not receive any public funds and are financed exclusively through donation made by private donors. Gaia currently has two thousand members, or sponsors, who contribute the money necessary to cover the sanctuary’s overhead expenses, which amount to about €30,000 a month. She will remain on the estate until she dies a natural death like the rest of the animals at this sanctuary. © Ana Palacios
“I got the deer tattoo because I love deer. In this case, this tattoo doesn’t symbolize anything in particular. It was an aesthetic decision, and I really love it.” Coque Fernandez Abellá, veterinarian and co-founder of the Gaia sanctuary. © Ana Palacios
Paola was abandoned outside a farm when the rest of the pigs were taken to the slaughterhouse. She had a broken vertebra and was unable to move her hind limbs, so it was impossible to get her in the truck. The staff at Gaia sanctuary rescued Paola and took care of her. It took a huge effort and extensive treatment, but now that her vertebra has healed, Paola is starting to regain mobility. Every day, Olivia Gomez, a worker at the sanctuary, treats Paola with physiotherapy and electrotherapy. And although progress is slow, Paola can now stand up with help and even take a few tiny steps. © Ana Palacios
Victoria Celedón, long-term volunteer at the Hogar Animal shelter, stated:“We are all a ‘family’ here. With family, you don’t get to choose; you get along better with some members than with others. But sharing the vegan philosophy is a very strong point we all have in common. Living together is sometimes easy, sometimes more complicated, never difficult or bad. We are always surrounded by good people who want to help and are very compassionate, empathetic, and aware… but nobody is perfect. Not even me. It’s nice to share this philosophy of life with others and feel that I am being helpful. Being here makes me happy.” © Ana Palacios
At Gaia, Borges was born blind and rejected by his mother, so he had to be raised on bottles. But he is growing up healthy and happy. Despite his blindness, Borges leads a completely normal life: playing, jumping, running, and checking out everything he finds. He has adapted well to his space. Lía Dominguez, a sanctuary employee, is in charge of providing specialized treatment in an area dedicated to the more vulnerable animals on the property. © Ana Palacios
At El Hogar Animal sanctuary, Matilde Duch, a veterinarian who specializes in equine dentistry, gives checkups to the three ponies, two donkeys, and three horses living. Matilde visits riding schools, farms, etc. in a van loaded with all her equipment. She cleaned the animals’ mouths and shaved Rubén’s––the donkey pictured here––teeth to correct his overbite so that he can eat properly. The visit costs 1,000€, which is in addition to the sanctuary’s regular monthly expenses (15,000€). © Ana Palacios
Daga and Itak are Gaia sanctuary’s oldest inhabitants. These two horses, a mother and son, were already on the estate before Gaia acquired and rented the thirty-three acres to set up the sanctuary near Camprodón, in Girona. The horses had both been used for riding, and the sanctuary decided to keep them. They now live free in the forest inside the sanctuary, in an area somewhat far removed from the other animals. But they will soon begin a period of adaptation to help them get used to living with the other animals.© Ana Palacios
Carla Heras, teacher and occasional volunteer at the Gaia sanctuary states: “Becoming a volunteer here is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and it has helped me grow more than anything. Getting to know all these animals up close has generated a very special bond with them, and this has helped me develop a sort of sensitivity and sense of compassion that I did not have before. Even also towards people, it’s helped me gain understanding about other members of my own species, and this has also made me happy.”© Ana Palacios

Photographer: Ana Palacios
Nationality: Spanish
Based in: Madrid, Spain
Instagram: @anapalaciosphoto

Ana Palacios is a journalist and a documentary photographer focused in human rights issues shining a light on broken corners in collaboration with NGOs such as Manos Unidas, Africa Directo and UNICEF.
In 2021 she was awarded the National Geographic Society’s Emergency Fund for Journalists, selected for the New York Times Portfolio Review and nominated for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award.
Her work has been awarded, exhibited and published worldwide (National Geographic, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Al Jazeera, Stern, Der Spiegel, New Internationalist, Greenpeace Magazine, Rhythms Magazine Taiwan, Het Blad, Terra Mater, 6 Mois, Days Japan, El País Semanal, La Vaguardia Magazine, XL Semanal, Tiempo, etc). She has published three books: “Albino”, about the pledge of the albinos in Tanzania, “Art in Movement” about the art as a social change in Uganda and “Slave children: The Back Door” about the reinsertion of slave children in West Africa. She has also directed her first documentary on this last topic available on Filmin.
She is a public speaker at universities, photography festivals and other educational centers in order to instruct, educate and inspire topics regarding Human Rights. She is also a member of national and international photo contest juries.