Kelowna animal sanctuary moves to Enderby, adopts virtual reality amid pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna animal sanctuary moves to Enderby, adopts virtual reality amid pandemic

Sunny, the roughly 900-pound vegan pig, will soon be moving to a new home in Enderby.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Heather Henderson

A Kelowna animal sanctuary is moving out of the city and adopting virtual reality after it saw a massive decline in visitors over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arion Therapeutic Farm, currently located at 2457 Saucier Rd. was first established in 2009 as a therapeutic riding facility and evolved into an animal sanctuary that currently houses 36 animals, including a giant 900-pound vegan pig named Sunny, said founder Heather Henderson.

The farm will remain open at its current location until the end of May with reduced hours. It will also be experimenting with virtual reality tours that will begin this summer as they move, she said.

The Enderby location has 27 acres of space and a hay field for the animals, and while she won’t unveil the location’s address just yet as work continues to bring the property up to snuff for the animals, Henderson said it’s about a 10 minute drive to town. Plans are to open in Enderby for tours and visitations in September.

In the interim, people will be able to book a live virtual reality experience of the farm, she said.

“We thought that might be fun for the senior population who might not be able to see us,” she said.

Depending on where people are located, VR goggles can be delivered, picked up or shipped, she said.

Henderson will also be recording all of the farm life happenings and will be creating weekly videos that people can tune into for a $5 monthly membership, she said. Farm updates will be provided through Patreon.

Their move will be documented, including how they get Sunny onto a trailer, she said.

“There’s actually no food that will make her move on demand,” she said. “She’ll be the most interesting to move.”

It’s a way to continue offering visits to the farm when it's closed, she said.

The tours will look a little different once they officially open, but they’ll still serve the community as a therapeutic farm, she said.

For more information, visit Arion’s website.


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