California Wildlife Center: Rescuing and Rehabilitating LA's Wild Animals

Each week, Huffington Post LA highlights a local animal rescue organization in the hopes that some lucky reader will find the perfect pet to bring home. This week, we've decided to highlight the California Wildlife Center, an LA-based organization thta rescues and rehabilitates neglected and injured wild animals around Los Angeles. You can't take them home, but these overlooked animals are in need of help and just as adorable as the domesticated, furry friends Angelenos encounter on a daily basis.

Founded by a small number of volunteers as a grass-roots organization, the California Wildlife Center (or CWC) began as an emergency medical service that stabilized injured animals in the wild before transferring them to nearby animal rehabilitation centers. Recognizing the shortage of medical facilities for wildlife in much of Los Angeles county, this dedicated group of individuals established a permanent medical facility and rehabilitation center in 1998 on three acres of California State Park property in the Santa Monica Mountains.

California Wildlife Center has since madeits goal to protect all native wildlife through rehabilitation, education, and conservation. Over the last 13 years, CWC has helped save the lives of over 3,200 animals per year.

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Cindy Reyes, Executive Director at CWC, says "the first step in achieving our mission involves the rescue of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. Our Emergency Hotline is a vital resource for community members as well as numerous branches of law enforcement, while CWC’s Marine Mammal Response Team provides emergency assessment and paramedic rescue for marine mammals stranded along the northern Los Angeles/Southern Ventura County coastline." The next step, Reyes says, is operating CWC's full-service hospital seven days a week for emergency, short-term, and long-term care. Finally, CWC sees to it that all rehabilitated animals are successfully released back into their natural habitats.

The Center also utilizes community events, environmental fairs and festivals year-round to inform and educate others in the community about its mission and about preserving and maintaining California's natural wildlife. Of course, Reyes says, CWC faces many challenges, especially during tough economic times. "In the light of dwindling donor income," Reyes explains, "CWC revitalized our fundraising program through the development of two additional annual fundraisers, 'Walk on the Wild Side' & 'Wild Aid,' as an adjunct to our signature annual event 'The Wild Brunch.'"

To find out more about how to get involved or how to learn more about what CWC does, click here.

Photos courtesy of California Wildlife Center.