Non-Profit Wildlife Care Organization On South Coast Getting Badly Needed New Home
It's a mobile home just off of Fairview Avenue in Goleta. But, it's not home to people. It's been converted into a combined treatment and temporary housing facility for songbirds.
There are cages everywhere in the cramped, improvised building that’s part of the Goleta home of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.
The network helps more than 240 species of animals a year. It's not just songbirds or seabirds, but also a wide variety of mammals, as well as snakes, lizards, and frogs.
Ariana Katovich is Executive Director of the more than three decade old non-profit. She says they’ve operated in improvised facilities on their two acres of land of Fairview Avenue in Goleta. But, the destructive 2018 Holiday wildfire which damaged the complex led them to think big, and come up with a long-term plan,
"It really is like the phoenix rising from the ashes," said Katovich. "We had this really dramatic fire which started next door to our property. We were evacuated out of our center for three months. Our property had all of this smoke and ash damage. Out of that process, we decided we really needed to build a home that was resilient on our property."
The animal care organization is in the final leg of a $6 million construction project to build new facilities on the site. The centerpiece is a long, rectangular building which will include facilities specifically designed for animal rescue work.
At a new outdoor facility, there are areas where orphaned and injured birds can be raised. There are separate, protected areas for young birds like baby ducks. When they get older, there is a pool for them to float on.
Part of the ambitious project is about adding space and facilities, but it’s also setting the stage for expanding the types of services available.
"We've hired a wildlife veterinarian," said Katovich. "It's the first wildlife vet our community has ever had."
The goal is to have the new building up and running by the end of the year. The demand for services is high. The Wildlife Care Network can often have 50 intakes of sick or injured animals a day.
You can find more information about the organization, and the fundraising efforts for its new facilities here.