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Frankie and this guy live in an open pen and let guests pet them.

Field Trip: Wildlife Waystation

This week I had a unique opportunity to visit the Wildlife Waystation, a sanctuary for wild and exotic animals on 160 acres in Sylmar, CA. The motto of the Wildlife Waystation is Refuge, Healing, Education. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

Imagine standing in the midst of the Angeles National Forest, among chaparral, cactus, and wildflowers. Suddenly you hear a lion roar. Next, a peacock caws, followed by the hoot of two or three chimpanzees. It’s out of place and out of this world.

Llama Wildlife Waystation
Many animals here came from homes where people kept them as pets without proper care, or were once show animals raised in captivity. The Wildlife Waystation provides them with a safe place to retire.

The Wildlife Waystation was founded by Martine Colette in 1965 at a time when wild and exotic animals were being kept as pets in Hollywood. She began buying these animals to save them until she realized that she was contributing to the problem (supporting the nefarious exotic animal trade). Then she got a call to rescue 31 chimpanzees that had been laboratory test animals. She took them all.

The Wildlife Waystation “provides 24-hour care to nearly 500 permanent animal residents. The full-time veterinary staff ensures that each animal receives exceptional healthcare based on the individual animal’s needs including preventative modalities, treatment for infections and diseases, cancer treatment, and geriatric care.”

Pig Wildlife Waystation
Frankie (not pictured) and this guy live in an open pen and let guests pet them.

Lions and Tigers and Bears…

Lion Wildlife Waystation
The more dangerous animals live in enclosures to keep them safe from each other, and to keep us from being eaten alive. Tangassi the African lion was in show business and has since retired.
Tiger Wildlife Waystation
This tiger played coy, while the one in the enclosure next door came right up to say hello and chuffed at us (a greeting).
Duckpond Wildlife Waystation
The Duck Pond houses more than ducks. It’s open to the skies and serves as a true waystation for migratory birds (geese, ducks, swans shown above) year round. The rooster is a permanent resident though.
Wolfdog Wildlife Waystation
This wolfdog hybrid is part of a group of wolves rescued from a fur farm.

While it’s heartbreaking to see wild animals behind fences, these animals are here because they wouldn’t survive in the wild. They were either raised in captivity, are too old or injured, or they were test animals. “Since 1976, Wildlife Waystation has helped more than 77,000 abused, abandoned, orphaned, and injured animals.”

They do all this without government funding. So…if you love wild animals and want to help support the Wildlife Waystation, consider adopting an animal. Each page on this website shares sponsorship information for each of the 500 residents of the Waystation.

Scroll down and click on the photo of, for example, Chloe the Bear, and you can give a monthly or annual amount. I want to attend a Safari dinner, where guests dine at sunset when the animals really come to life.

Spider monkey Wildlife Waystation
I want a prehensile tail like this gal.
Wildlife Waystation2
This stone near the llama pen says it all.

Donate to the Wildlife Waystation here.

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