The Future of Wildworks
It's finally happening!
We're moving! We have finally obtained a property in Coursegold, CA where we have written permission from the county to move our animals there. We need your help! Moving wild animals is very costly and we want to make sure they have the best homes possible at our new place. Please donate to our move to help us get our animals to their new home!
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 over 100 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! It was property purchased by Mollie Hogan, founder and director. The site offered a home, 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.
Currently, our domestics and birds of prey are at the Arizona location. The land is allowed, by right, to hold 115 "unrestricted" animals of various sizes, and birds of prey fall under that category. The horses have a beautiful and HUGE open space to run around and live their best lives. The birds have the beautiful mews that we've always wanted them to live in.
As for our wild mammals, they are currently located at Zoo to You in Paso Robles. The people who run this facility have generously allowed us to house our wild mammals (and our two employees) there until we find our permanent home. Our animals are still completely under our care.
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. Before applying for the permit, you have to find a property, and it has to be a seller who is willing to wait the three months to see if we could get the permit. That was the hard part. 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 ends. 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. The county 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. So here we are, with a wonderful property that belongs to Wildworks and the animals can move in at any time. There is a little work that needs to be done of course before the animals can move, but our hope is to be there by fall.
We will need your help to be able to move. The preparations we need to do to get the animals there will be costly, so this is where you come in. You've helped us before and we're counting on you again. Please donate to our FINAL move.
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 last year she remembered Wildworks in her will. Janine made it possible for us to find our forever home.