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

Santa Barbara’s New

Wild Animal Hospital

Is a Home of ‘Hopeful Work’

Wildlife Treatment Network Spreads Its Wings

With Condition-of-the-Artwork Facility

By Tyler Hayden | March 16, 2023

Volunteers hand knit nests for newborn birds | Credit score: Courtesy

Read through all of the entries in our “Pets & Animals, 2023 Edition” deal with below.

When Ariana Katovich, govt director of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Community, says the firm arrives from humble beginnings, she usually means it. It was 1988 when a ragtag team of pals and mother nature lovers noticed the need to have for wildlife rescue in the region and began caring for ill and wounded animals out of their kitchens and bogs. 

Two decades went by in advance of they were being able to come across a long lasting house in the foothills of Goleta, and even then, the services at 1460 North Fairview Avenue consisted of trailers, sheds, and non permanent buildings that by requirement turned long lasting. “Everything and absolutely everyone was just squished together,” Katovich said.

Nonetheless, thousands of animals on their worst times passed by means of all those doorways and left joyful and rehabilitated. Entirely accredited by the condition and driven primarily by volunteers, the Wildlife Care Community grew to grow to be the ideal recognised and most revered rescue outfit in the region. The 2018 Holiday Fireplace, however, prompted some truthful reassessment. 

Credit: Courtesy

When the firm evacuated and relocated to the spacious Humane Modern society campus for three months, it saw the survival costs of its people maximize. “Just from owning extra area,” Katovich discussed. “We realized it was very important that we develop a new clinic. We understood we could do much better.”

Four several years and a lot of donor funds later, the Wendy McCaw Wildlife Medical center opened for organization. The information flew underneath the radar, coming as it did when the pandemic was nonetheless major of head, but the effect to the staff members, the volunteers, and their charges was instant. “It’s an absolute recreation-changer,” Katovich mentioned on a latest tour. 

The two-story, 5,400-square-foot building is outfitted with all the bells and whistles wanted to do the dirty and complicated task of conserving wild animals. On the initial flooring is an test space, x-ray and surgical procedures suites, ICU, quarantine zone, seabird bay, oil washing and drying stations, mammal center, and songbird nursery. The latter functions lighting that mimics the rising and placing of the sunshine, hand-knit nests suspended in incubators, and an air trade technique sturdy adequate for infant hummingbirds, which respirate a hundred instances a minute.

The kitchen area is one of the busiest rooms, with constant prep getting put for fish slurries, bug plates, and other specialized foods for the 240-additionally distinct species the group feeds. On the 2nd ground are employees places of work that seem into the property’s current enclosed pools for huge birds, like pelicans and cormorants. A very little methods absent are other factors of the primary campus, like the Raccoon Resort and the Harry Potter–inspired Hufflepuff Aviary. 

In the coming yrs, Katovich reported, the nonprofit hopes to keep on its upgrades with two new enclosures. One particular would be for raptors, like the hawks that get strike by automobiles and are often brought in by the California Highway Patrol. The other would be for far more mammals, such as possums, which Katovich thinks get a undesirable rap. “They’re North America’s only marsupial, and they try to eat ticks,” she mentioned. “They’re awesome!” She’s also always had a smooth location for crows just after she rescued one particular outside a UCSB dining popular as a pupil.

Credit: Courtesy

Although 70 percent of the Wildlife Care Network’s intakes are birds, they really don’t discriminate versus any animal in want. An oiled gopher snake was not too long ago handled, as is the occasional dusky-footed woodrat. Skunks are regulars much too, indicating guaranteed incidents of spraying. The good news is, the medical center now options a shower.

But arguably the most interesting addition to their functions, Katovich continued, was the using the services of of Dr. Rebecca Aldoretta, a new director of veterinary products and services. Aldoretta arrives to Santa Barbara from Canada’s Prince Edward Island, near where the avian flu that is presently sweeping across the continent was first detected. Her expertise with the highly pathogenic strain has presently served the healthcare facility get ready for and shield towards infection, Katovich mentioned.

As the only facility of its type anyplace in Santa Barbara or Ventura counties, and with a coverage zone of Morro Bay to Malibu, the Wildlife Treatment Network requires its responsibility critically, Katovich explained. The work can be a grind, particularly as we head into spring nesting season and the clinic braces for the unavoidable influx of baby critters disturbed from their residences. Dozens of them, every one working day. 

“These are generally newborns. They need to have warmth, food, and treatment about the clock,” explained Katovich. “We check out their eyes open.” But it is also the very best aspect of their mission, she explained — saving an animal from sure doom and observing it get flight back into the wild. “The factor I really like about the get the job done is it’s incredibly hopeful function,” she said.

To understand more about the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, like volunteer and supplying chances, go to To get to its helpline for wildlife emergencies, rescues, and assistance, phone (805) 681-1080.