Success: Wildlife Conservation Center Saved From Closure

coyote_pup_by_chris_pawluk

Target: Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri

Goal: Applaud the approval of a 20-year permit for the non-profit Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.

An important non-profit animal sanctuary is finally free from the threat of closure. The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center had been rescuing orphaned and injured wild animals in Scottsdale, Arizona, for 22 years before being sued by a neighbor over noise complaints. Since the organization is largely run by volunteers and relies on donations as its sole source of funding, the lawsuit posed a serious risk. Now, thanks to the public’s outcry and numerous petitions like this one published on ForceChange, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has approved a 20-year permit for Southwest Wildlife that will enable it to stay open to continue its essential work.

Had the conservation center been shut down, hundreds of animals would have been left needlessly homeless. Southwest Wildlife works to fully rehabilitate injured and orphaned animals with the ultimate goal of returning them to the wild, performing what Arizona Game and Fish spokesman Jim Paxon describes as an “altruistic service” that can’t be found elsewhere. When animals are unable to return to the wild, the conservation center either keeps them on the property or finds them a home at a refuge or zoo. The center also works with the Arizona Game and Fish Department as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help conservation efforts for the endangered Mexican gray wolf, offering its facility as a holding space for these threatened wolves.

Linda Searles, the executive director of Southwest Wildlife, has expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support she received for her organization, stating that “we know we touch a lot of animal lives, but we didn’t know we touch so many people.” With the security provided by the 20-year permit, her animal sanctuary will be able to continue benefiting both the animals it takes in and the people who visit to learn and observe.

The permit was approved by a unanimous vote led by County Supervisor Steve Chucri, whose district includes the Scottsdale property on which the conservation center is located. Sign the petition below to thank him for his efforts to keep this important organization open.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Chucri,

Thanks to the efforts of you and your fellow Maricopa County Supervisors, the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center has been saved from being tragically shut down. The animal sanctuary had been working for 22 years to rehabilitate and provide shelter for injured and orphaned animals before being sued by a neighbor over a noise complaint. Had the lawsuit achieved its goal the donation-based, non-profit organization would have been forced to close, leaving hundreds of animals homeless.

Now, largely due to your consistent support of the conservation center, Southwest Wildlife can continue its essential work with the security of a 20-year permit. We, the undersigned, applaud your decision to lead the unanimous vote that approved this permit. Thank you for working to protect Arizona’s wild animals, and please continue to fight for animal conservation and animal rights.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chris Pawluk

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