Santa Barbara’s New Wild Animal Hospital Is a Home of ‘Hopeful Work’

Timothy Hill

Santa Barbara’s New

Wild Animal Hospital

Is a Household of ‘Hopeful Work’

Wildlife Care Community Spreads Its Wings

With State-of-the-Artwork Facility

By Tyler Hayden | March 16, 2023

Volunteers hand knit nests for new child birds | Credit: Courtesy

Examine all of the entries in our “Pets & Animals, 2023 Edition” cover below.

When Ariana Katovich, govt director of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, states the group will come from humble beginnings, she suggests it. It was 1988 when a ragtag group of close friends and character enthusiasts noticed the require for wildlife rescue in the space and began caring for unwell and wounded animals out of their kitchens and bathrooms. 

Two many years went by just before they had been in a position to uncover a long term house in the foothills of Goleta, and even then, the services at 1460 North Fairview Avenue consisted of trailers, sheds, and short term buildings that by necessity turned permanent. “Everything and anyone was just squished jointly,” Katovich explained.

Nevertheless, countless numbers of animals on their worst days passed by those people doors and remaining content and rehabilitated. Fully accredited by the state and run primarily by volunteers, the Wildlife Care Network grew to turn into the best recognised and most highly regarded rescue outfit in the region. The 2018 Vacation Fire, even so, prompted some sincere reassessment. 

Credit history: Courtesy

When the organization evacuated and relocated to the spacious Humane Modern society campus for three months, it observed the survival costs of its patients raise. “Just from getting a lot more area,” Katovich stated. “We understood it was vital that we establish a new clinic. We realized we could do much better.”

Four decades and a ton of donor funds later, the Wendy McCaw Wildlife Medical center opened for company. The news flew under the radar, coming as it did when the pandemic was still leading of head, but the effect to the workers, the volunteers, and their rates was quick. “It’s an absolute video game-changer,” Katovich stated on a new tour. 

The two-tale, 5,400-square-foot making is outfitted with all the bells and whistles needed to do the dirty and challenging work of conserving wild animals. On the 1st floor is an exam space, x-ray and surgical procedure suites, ICU, quarantine zone, seabird bay, oil washing and drying stations, mammal middle, and songbird nursery. The latter characteristics lights that mimics the rising and location of the sunlight, hand-knit nests suspended in incubators, and an air exchange system solid enough for baby hummingbirds, which respirate a hundred times a moment.

The kitchen area is one particular of the busiest rooms, with frequent prep using position for fish slurries, bug plates, and other specialised meals for the 240-plus different species the corporation feeds. On the second floor are personnel places of work that glimpse into the property’s present enclosed pools for major birds, like pelicans and cormorants. A small methods away are other aspects of the primary campus, including the Raccoon Vacation resort and the Harry Potter–inspired Hufflepuff Aviary. 

In the coming many years, Katovich claimed, the nonprofit hopes to carry on its upgrades with two new enclosures. A single would be for raptors, like the hawks that get hit by vehicles and are often brought in by the California Freeway Patrol. The other would be for far more mammals, together with possums, which Katovich thinks get a bad rap. “They’re North America’s only marsupial, and they consume ticks,” she reported. “They’re amazing!” She’s also usually experienced a comfortable spot for crows soon after she rescued a person outdoors a UCSB dining widespread as a student.

Credit history: Courtesy

Whilst 70 percent of the Wildlife Care Network’s intakes are birds, they never discriminate against any animal in require. An oiled gopher snake was a short while ago dealt with, as is the occasional dusky-footed woodrat. Skunks are regulars far too, which means confirmed incidents of spraying. Fortunately, the clinic now features a shower.

But arguably the most enjoyable addition to their functions, Katovich continued, was the choosing of Dr. Rebecca Aldoretta, a new director of veterinary services. Aldoretta comes to Santa Barbara from Canada’s Prince Edward Island, around where by the avian flu that is now sweeping throughout the continent was initial detected. Her knowledge with the really pathogenic pressure has by now assisted the hospital get ready for and secure in opposition to an infection, Katovich claimed.

As the only facility of its form anyplace in Santa Barbara or Ventura counties, and with a coverage zone of Morro Bay to Malibu, the Wildlife Care Community will take its duty critically, Katovich claimed. The work can be a grind, particularly as we head into spring nesting time and the medical center braces for the inescapable inflow of infant critters disturbed from their houses. Dozens of them, every solitary day. 

“These are basically newborns. They will need warmth, foodstuff, and treatment all over the clock,” reported Katovich. “We look at their eyes open up.” But it’s also the ideal element of their mission, she explained — saving an animal from selected doom and looking at it choose flight back again into the wild. “The issue I really like about the work is it is incredibly hopeful do the job,” she claimed.

To master more about the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, together with volunteer and supplying prospects, take a look at To arrive at its helpline for wildlife emergencies, rescues, and suggestions, simply call (805) 681-1080.

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