The Future of Wildworks
It Finally Happened!
We moved! We finally obtained a property in Coursegold, CA where we have written permission from the county to move ALL of our animals there. All of our wild mammals moved in October 2021 to temporary enclosures and the rest of our animals in Arizona will be moved by the end of July 2022. Next year will start the construction of everyone's spacious, permanent habitats. We still need your help! Click the button below to donate towards the animals' permanent homes and to moving our domestics and birds of prey from Arizona.
The Whole Story
For more than 25 years, our Wildworks Wildlife Care and Education Center was housed in Topanga Canyon, where we cared for approximately 50 animals, provided on-site education, and delivered hundreds of awareness programs across Southern California each year. We are permitted and regulated by several government agencies that oversee animal health and safety.
However, due to the recent fires, changing times, and zoning issues, the county of Los Angeles decided we could no longer be there. We did not own the land we were on, which made it impossible to obtain the proper Conditional Use Permit there.
We wanted to remain there with all of our supporters in that area. We so wanted to continue our animal care and educational mission there, but because of the aggressive action that was being taken by the County, our immediate concern was the health and safety of the animals. With the insane cost of land and living in CA, we thought it was better to look elsewhere. This was why we purchased land near Sedona, AZ. It was ideal in many ways. We were excited for our new home! The site offered a home for staff, larger grounds, options for larger enclosures for the animals, and what we thought were supportive government agencies and local residents. It was also away from fires!
However, lies were spread about The Nature of Wildworks and neighbors started to not trust us. Our permitting was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic which gave the opposition more time to spread their lies further and grow. Once our meetings were finally rescheduled, it was too late. We tried to work with the neighbors and listen to their concerns, but even after promising no on-site visits or fundraising events, they still did not want us there. After a year an a half, three Planning and Zoning meetings (two of which were unanimously approved), and two Board of Supervisor meetings, we were told our final no. Our animals were denied their chance of a beautiful, worry-free, permanent home in Arizona.
The county of Los Angeles didn't care about the well-being of our animals and still forced us out. While we searched, yet again, for a new permanent home, the wild mammals were relocated to Zoo to You Conservation Ambassadors Inc. in Paso Robles for almost a year. The people who run this facility generously allowed us to house our wild mammals (and our two employees) there until we found our permanent home. Our animals remained completely under our care while they were there.
After tirelessly searching and calling almost every single county in California, we finally narrowed our search to Madera County. Why? Because they told us that the Conditional Use Permit process only took 3 months. This was the shortest amount of time we could find anywhere. Everywhere else told us 6 months to a year or longer. Way too long. On one her her many visits to California, Mollie went and directly met with the county planning department in Madera in person. They loved the idea of us being there and wanted to do everything possible to help us get there. Wait, what? A helpful Planning Department? A county that wants us there? This county was looking better and better. And that's not where it ended. They told us find a property and we'll look into the zoning and see what you need to do. A wonderful property was found and Wildworks made an offer to put it in escrow just to hold the property while we sorted things out with the county. They got back to us with a written letter stating that we could move all of our wild animals there at any time without needing a Conditional Use Permit! Escrow closed on the house on Mollie's birthday in 2021. So here we are, with a wonderful property that belongs to Wildworks and the animals are allowed to be there.
Currently we are working on moving the rest of the animals that were allowed to live in Arizona (birds of prey and domestics). All animals will be living in Coarsegold by the end of July! Then we can sell the ranch and leave the place that didn't want us behind.
All of the animals are still in temporary setups. They are smaller enclosures than we like, but they still exceed the minimum requirements for USDA and Fish & Wildlife and the animals are all happy. In 2023 we will be building the beautiful and spacious permanent habitats. We still need your help! Please consider donating towards the animals' permanent homes and to moving our domestics and birds of prey from Arizona. We're almost there, and we never would have been able to do any of this without you, our generous supporters.
Sunny has been enjoying exploring the property and picking where all the habitats will go.
The purchase of this property was only possible because of the generosity of one person, Janine Smith. Janine was a longtime supporter and a dear friend and when she sadly passed on in 2020 she remembered Wildworks in her will. Janine made it possible for us to find our forever home.