Sprawling sanctuary for creatures big and small

This aerial view (left) taken with a drone on Thursday shows the Tierheim Berlin, the largest animal shelter in Europe, with more than 100 employees and several buildings on 16ha of land.

The shelter handles around 10,000 animals every year, with the goal of finding each one a new home. An average of 1,400 animals can be found at the shelter at any given time.

Its facilities include glass cages for reptiles (above), a tin shack for pigeons and a veterinary practice. The cost of running the shelter is financed largely through donations.

Like other shelters in Germany, the Tierheim Berlin imposed a temporary ban on new adoptions before Christmas to keep animals from becoming unwanted gifts that end up being returned to the shelter by their new owners.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2018, with the headline 'Sprawling sanctuary for creatures big and small'. Print Edition | Subscribe