Wildlife Waystation

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About Wildlife Waystation

Founded by Martine Colette in 1965 and incorporated in 1976, the Wildlife Waystation (WW) is located on 160 acres in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California.

Internationally recognized, WW has accepted four tigers from Ireland, lions from New Zealand and Canada, other exotic animals from across the United States, as well as native animals in Southern California and other states.

Every rescue was important and often life saving, whether it was two orphaned grizzly cubs in Montana, twenty four lions and three ligers from a deplorable place in Idaho, chimpanzees from biomedical research, an owl who had been shot or an injured scrub jay.

Since 1976, WW has helped more than 76,000 abused, abandoned, orphaned, and injured animals. These include Siberian and Bengal tigers, lions, leopards, ligers, jaguars, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, camels, primates, hyenas, bears, foxes, reptiles, exotic birds, birds of prey, and more.

With over 40 chimpanzees, WW is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the Western United States. Almost all of our chimps came from biomedical research labs in 1995 and 1996.

WW provides 24-hour care to more than 400 permanent animal residents. The Health Center and full-time veterinary staff ensures that the care each animal receives is based on the individual animal’s requirements. Preventative care, treatment for infections, diseases, including cancer, and geriatric care are all part of providing exceptional care for the animals.

WW receives no funding from federal, state, or local governments, but is supported solely by private donations, foundation and corporate grants, bequests and animal sponsorships. The sanctuary is staffed 24 hours-a-day, 7 days a week by a professional staff and highly trained and dedicated volunteers.

WW works closely with local animal control, as well as California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and when warranted, animal organizations worldwide.

Throughout the Waystation’s history, educating the public has been a priority with a goal to preserve wildlife through understanding how to co-exist with native wildlife, and why exotic animals do not make good pets.

Current education programs include:

  • Multi-level volunteer training and services programs
  • Outreach programs for civic groups, schools and scouts
  • Off-site community events throughout Southern California, some attended by thousands.
  • Teaching program: Moorpark College students in the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program
  • A veterinary intern program

Booee, who continued to use his sign language skills to make requests for treats or play, and Sammy, who continued to paint, are gone now – as are some of the other chimps who were older when they arrived. But after spending much of their lives in medical research, they were allowed to live out their remaining years nestled in the hills under the warm California sun. Each chimp added something special to our lives and we are so grateful that we had the opportunity to finally provide them with a life of compassionate care – one they so richly deserved.