Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network’s annual open house will be hosted online from noon to 12:45 p.m. Friday. The virtual open house and groundbreaking celebration will go behind-the-scenes with the staff and animals at the Wildlife Care Network and preview the construction of the new Wildlife Hospital.
Registration for this online event is free to the public. The annual event traditionally invites members of the community to tour the property that is usually closed to the public. This year it will be presented online due to COVID-19 precautions but will offer an inside look at the operations at the center. Attendees can expect to meet some of the SBWCN staff, learn about the animals that are cared for, and enjoy never-before-seen animal release videos. In addition, the program will feature an exclusive look into SBWCN’s future Wildlife Hospital.
“While we can’t invite guests to our property quite yet, our virtual program will actually allow the public to see even more of what happens behind-the-scenes than our typical in-person event,” said Ariana Katovich, SBWCN’s executive director. “We’re currently in the middle of spring baby season — our busiest time of the year — so we’re excited to give folks an inside scoop on our incredible staff, fascinating wildlife and the progress of our Wildlife Hospital.”
Once completed, the Wildlife Hospital will be a 5,400 square foot, state-of-the-art facility that will be the first of its kind in the region. The hospital officially broke ground in January of 2021 and is expected to be completed by early 2022. This $6 million project will make critical improvements to the facilities and resources currently available for wildlife rehabilitation in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Some special features will include a designated surgery room, an intensive care unit, advanced facilities to care for oiled wildlife, nurseries for baby mammals and songbirds and much more. SBWCN is close to reaching the fundraising goal, with only $1 million left to raise. All donations to the Wildlife Hospital will be matched one to one thanks to a lead gift commitment.
“The Wildlife Hospital is a project that has been years in the making,” said Ms. Katovich. “It will greatly improve our abilities to save and serve local wildlife for generations to come. We’re so grateful to have the support of our community to make this dream finally become a reality.”