More than $4,000 was raised for the animals at the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar during a recent fundraiser.
This center is vastly different from a regular zoo. They offer one on one experiences with the animals with a personal biologist to answer any questions. There are also private tours that rate highly on Yelp. If a guest chooses not to buy a tour or personal encounter they can still see a variety of wild animals up close, much closer than a zoo.
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The center is an animal sanctuary and is dedicated to educating the public. The sanctuary has provided presentations regarding wildlife and its need of conservation in “most, if not, all cities in the Los Angeles area,” Co-Founder Paul Hahn said. The Center has made 20,000 presentations over the past 15 years with 90% of their audience being elementary age children, he added.
Some of the animals the founders present to the kids are birds. One of the most recently adopted birds by the sanctuary is a majestic bald eagle named Denali. He was found in South Carolina when he was 7 years old.
“Denali would have most likely not survived if we couldn’t take him in,” Co-Founder David Riherd said.
Last year the Wildlife Learning Center spent nearly $20,000 on food for the animals. Facility maintenance cost nearly $150,000; this along with care for the animals came to a total of $276,695.
To raise money, the sanctuary holds fundraisers and offers visits to the public. When guests visit the center they can learn about wildlife and see each animal up close. Holly Leatherman and her son Chance volunteered to help out at the fundraiser.
“He goes to all the camps and has learned so much from this place,” Leatherman said. There were many volunteers at the fundraiser, most were young adults. A few of the collegiate volunteers were receiving extra credit for a biology class at the local junior college. Anyone can volunteer at the center. All that is required is one three hour shift once a week where the volunteer starts with small tasks such as preparing meals for the animals and can work their way up to personal encounters.
The founders really care about making the connection with the next generation that conservation is important. Once families learn of the Wildlife Learning Center they seem to be hooked.
“The facility was very clean, well maintained and the people who work there were very knowledgeable, friendly and interactive. I can’t wait to come back,” visitor Lynda Tartaglino said.
By visiting the center, dropping a few dollars in their donation box or by “adopting an animal” you can help save these animals and support the education they provide to the community.
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