Founded in 1976 by wildlife lover and expert Martine Colette, the Wildlife WayStation is a national non-profit, holding rehabilitation, medical and problem solving refuge for native, wild and exotic animals. Located in the Angeles National Forest, north of the San Fernando Valley, the Wildlife WayStation is a safe haven for both native and exotic wildlife and is dedicated to their rescue, rehabilitation and relocation.
These animals come from all over the world and from many different situations. The WayStation’s long-standing commitment is to accept any animal, no matter what the problem, free of charge and with no reservations. In short, no wild or exotic animal in need is ever turned away.
Since its inception, the Wildlife WayStation has provided shelter and care to over 75,000 animals. The 160-acre enclave is one of the only licensed facilities of its kind in the United States. The Wildlife WayStation was created in response to the lack of existing facilities designed to help and house wild and exotic animals.
The refuge is a 24 hour-a-day, seven day-a-week operation, which provides the animals with everything from hospital facilities and medicine, to nurturing and TLC. The WayStation is devoted to returning native wildlife to its natural habitat whenever possible.
There is a large and varied range of animals treated at the Wildlife WayStation. These include all types of large cats (lions, tigers, bobcats, leopards, jaguars, and even a ‘ligress’), primates, bears, opossums, foxes, hyenas, reptiles, wolves, deer and all types of birds.
These animals may have been former circus performers, members of animal exhibits, or orphaned or abandoned by their parents. Many of the animals were adopted by owners who thought they would make ‘novel’ or ‘cute’ pets until they grew up and became unmanageable. Sadly, in several such cases the animals were de-clawed or even de-fanged in a cruel attempt to maintain control over the animal.
Throughout the WayStation’s growth and development, educating the public about wildlife has been a priority. The overall goal is to preserve wildlife and cease its abuse and mistreatment. Some of the animals residing at the WayStation are habituated to be ‘educational animals’, to promote animal and man co-existing and learning from each other.
Through community programs, young and old alike are taught to treat animals with caution and respect. Says founder and director Martine Colette, “Both children and adults should be taught that animals must be respected and admired.” The education provided by the Wildlife WayStation is aimed at teaching the public how to help prevent endangerment and extinction.
A combination of staff and volunteers, each of whom is dedicated to the health and happiness of each and every animal, mans the Wildlife WayStation. The small paid staff and large group of volunteers manage the day-to-day operations maintaining the ranch and providing nurturing and support to the animals. The volunteers also facilitate the educational process and the dissemination of information through outreach programs, and special events.
The Wildlife WayStation is a national non-profit, charitable organization, supported solely through donations, bequests, fundraising events, memberships and animal sponsorship programs.