(WYLIE, TX – Sept. 26, 2019) On August 11, 2019, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) was notified by the Wildlife Waystation, a wild animal refuge that houses exotic and domestic animals in Sylmar, that their Board of Directors had voted to surrender the facility’s CDFW permit voluntarily and to close the facility. CDFW has implemented an incident command structure to handle daily operations and assist with the placement of animals.
CDFW has been on site since August 13th, actively ensuring that daily operations remain smooth at the facility, and is working with animal welfare organizations to place the animals into other facilities. CDFW will maintain oversight of the facility until all animals are placed appropriately. CDFW’s primary concern is for the health and welfare of the animals. CDFW is working collaboratively with Wildlife Waystation staff to ensure the best possible care during this transition.
The Wildlife Waystation was founded in 1976 and has been operating with a current permit issued by CDFW. The aging facility was extensively damaged in the 2017 Creek Fire and again in flooding in early 2019. Wildlife Waystation leadership is unable to repair the facility to current standards.
Media and the public are asked to please refrain from traveling to the property. The property is closed until further notice and access will not be granted. There is very limited road access and no cellular reception.
CDFW has contacted a network of local and national animal welfare organizations both for assistance and expertise in care of the animals as well as assistance in finding permanent placement for the more than 470 animals at the facility. Tigers in America, a non-profit based in New York is providing assistance with placement and transport of all the big cats. Wylie, Texas based sanctuary In-Sync Exotics has already made two trips to California and around the country to assist with transporting many of the exotic cats to their new homes. So far, In-Sync Exotics has transported 17 exotic cats to three separate sanctuaries across the country. In addition to providing a transport team and vehicles, In-Sync Exotics will provide a permanent home for two leopards and two cougars from the operation.
In-Sync Exotics, a non-profit organization established in 2000, is dedicated to the rescue of neglected, abused, and unwanted exotic felines. American Sanctuary Association (ASA) accredited, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) verified, and a member of Tigers in America, In-Sync Exotics provides the highest quality care for the 76 exotic animals that reside at the sanctuary.
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