September 1, 2012
Bigger, Better Facilities at Fund for Animals Wildlife Center
Unveiling capital improvements
by Ali Crumpacker
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center has been busy improving enclosures and structures on the 13-acre property and has now broken ground on its crown jewel: the new Wildlife Care Center in Ramona, Calif.
The Care Center is slated to open in 2013 and will replace a 20-year-old building one fifth the size. For hundreds of sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, it will offer a place to heal, recover, and learn the skills necessary to survive in the wild.
With the help of generous donors, the Wildlife Care Center will be equipped with X-ray, surgery, triage, and isolation wards, allowing us to provide the best possible care to every patient.
Rehabilitating animals who have a natural mistrust of humans is tricky, and maintaining that mistrust so they exhibit proper behaviors upon release is critical to their survival. At the Wildlife Center, the road to recovery for each patient—whether it be a skunk or an eagle—will begin with an physical exam, diagnostic testing, and a behavior evaluation to gauge their skills for independence. The team will then design a customized rehabilitation program to allow that patient the best chance at returning to the wild.
Some patients only stay for a few hours, recovering from a window strike or electric shock when all they need is a safe place to recuperate. Other patients stay for several weeks, receiving intense triage and critical life support (fluids and easy-to-digest meals) as they respond to medication for severe cases of mange or trichomoniasis. Then there are the orphans, sometimes brought in healthy but much too young to be on their own; these patients stay the longest, with bobcat kittens needing up to nine months of care before being released.
Beyond the Care Center
The center has also dedicated considerable attention to the permanent sanctuary residents, improving and refurbishing their enclosures, to ensure that animals who can't return to the wild have the best accommodations.
Samson, the African lion, received an addition to his enclosure to accommodate his medical needs, as well as a fire-hose hammock to lounge on. Chewy the coyote moved into a completely renovated enclosure, giving him natural rock dens and green, bushy trees to hide in. And the bobcats have new dens and platforms that offer comfort and privacy and act as emergency evacuation tools in case of wildfire.
The humans were not forgotten either. After a facelift, the residential house on the property accommodates eight full-time student interns from all over the world who study wildlife conservation, biology, and veterinary medicine.
Plans are already in the works to build additional rehabilitation enclosures to accommodate the increase of patients that will pass through the new Care Center. One such enclosure is a new aviary complex that will provide thirteen additional flights of various configurations to provide birds, from kestrels to golden eagles, the necessary space to build their wing muscles before their release.
Donate now to help the center
Much is still needed for the center's upcoming operations. Veterinary equipment, medications, incubators, and numerous other items are essential if the center is going to serve as many patients as possible. Donations can provide these items for the patients.
We are also seeking sponsorships for the new animal rehabilitation enclosures.
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, operated by The Humane Society of the United States in partnership with the Fund For Animals, provides care for more than 400 wild animals annually. This is the only facility that assists species such as bobcats and coyotes in a 15,000-square-mile area.
The new Care Center will allow three times as many wild patients to receive medical care simultaneously.