In a return to Post-Covid normalcy The Wildlife Learning Center (WLC) in Sylmar has made three important announcements. All three signal a possible end to a financial drought impacting wildlife rescue organizations world wide. Restrictions and mandated closures forced wildlife rescue institutions to try to find ways to survive with severely reduced funding.
First, the small but popular zoo/rescue center has returned to 10am to 5 pm hours Monday through Friday. Due to Covid -19 hours were severely restricted and actual reservations were needed to visit. Tickets can still be pre-ordered, and pre-ordering is recommended, but the center is now open for walk-in visitors.
Second, The WLC has been active in school outreach. Staff would bring selected animals to local schools for nature talks about the center’s animals. Those visits were suspended due to Covid-19 but have resumed. The center has a variety of birds, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates from all over the world. Many of the animals are rescues, others have been rehabilitated but cannot live in the wild.
Finally, WLC is participating in a fund raising golf tournament Sept 9 at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena. DocWalks4Animals will feature a day of golf, a banquet and a silent auction. Doc Walks4Animals is the creation of a pediatric urologist who walked for animal support issues earlier in the pandemic. She walked more than 100 miles and later created the organization to support wildlife. Her efforts came as a realization that wildlife rescue and conservation efforts had been drastically impacted by Covid restrictions.
On her website Dr. Monica Metzdorf MD says
“Proceeds from this charity tournament will benefit the Wildlife Learning Center (WLC) located in Sylmar, CA. Founded to provide public education in the life sciences, conservation and our environment, the WLC is a zoological park nestled in an old olive grove in San Fernando Valley. Funds will go toward the purchase of an on-site ultrasound machine and other needed medical equipment for the care of the animals. Visit their website to learn more about the many exotic animals that they heal and house: Wildlife Learning Center“
WLC was founded by Paul Hahn and David Riherd and operates as an accredited zoo and rescue center. The animals at the center range from Asian forest scorpions. to African bullfrogs, Gila monsters and eagle owls, to sloths, servals, bobcats and Canada lynx.
There are other serious difficulties facing zoos and wildlife rescue centers around the world, including the Ukrainian war. That war has not only impacted Ukrainian zoos and rescue organizations it has strained facilities in neighboring countries.
Prior to the war Ukrainian wildlife had been rebounding in the region around the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Because of fighting it is unclear what the status of wild animals is.