LOS ANGELES’ ACCLAIMED WILD AND EXOTIC ANIMAL SANCTUARY, THE WILDLIFE WAYSTATION
FACES THE “FINAL CHAPTER.,” SAYS FOUNDER MARTINE COLETTE.
FINANCIAL SITUATION “THE WORST” IN 35 YEARS.
Martine Colette, founder and director of the Wildlife WayStation, is facing what she calls – bluntly – the “final chapter” of the acclaimed wild and exotic animal sanctuary that has long been a Los Angeles fixture and is home to around 400 animals, birds and reptiles.
But home for how long?
That is Colette’s predicament and it’s crunch time for the animal supporter and her life’s work.
Says Colette: “If the WayStation does not find a way out from under the horrific financial burden it is currently facing, caused by the current recession and disastrous economic downfall, then all these animals that came to us for safe haven are in real jeopardy.
“And sooner rather than later.”
Funded solely through corporate and foundation grants, private donations, animal sponsorship and bequests, the non profit WayStation, situated in the Angeles National Forest just outside Los Angeles, has seen the results of fundraising activities drop abruptly.
“Donations are down,” notes Colette. “This is the worst I have experienced in my 45 years of animal welfare and rescue..
“We have been forced to cut back severely on WayStation staff, relying on volunteers and supporters day-to-day. They do a great job but it’s frustrating not having a complete, permanent staff to serve our animal population.
”The economic situation adversely affects our work on the County of Los Angeles-required WayStation improvements that would allow us to reopen our sanctuary to the public, another way we raise money. The work is proceeding, but slowly.
“All in all, this has been one horrific year.”
Colette views the upcoming Thanksgiving-Christmas period – a peak time for donations and fundraising – as “crisis time,” the make-or-break period for the WayStation.
Facing the reality of the WayStation’s downward financial spiral, Colette and fellow board members are looking to change the Waystation’s business methods and philosophy.
Colette’s opinion is that the WayStation management, herself included, must become more progressive and proactive,
Says Colette: “We are putting real emphasis on the possibility of some organization going into partnership with the WayStation, a company that sees a real advantage in aligning with the WayStation brand that could take us – and them - in a different direction. An organization that will find the WayStation image and history advantageous to them.
“Frankly, we are open to any and all suggestions – a merger with another like-minded animal organization is not out of the question. A wedding chapel with the WayStation has background has even been suggested! Just as long as respect for the animals is part of the package, the first priority.”
While the WayStation is seeking an organizational partner with deep pockets, the small change is not being neglected in the fundraising drives.
“People can sponsor a particular animal, or contribute to a food bill. I can tell you to the last cent how much it costs to feed one tiger or one chimp for one day. If someone wants to help that way, I am just as grateful. The most important thing is that the Wildlife Waystation must survive
“A large part of the WayStation’s appeal is its connection with the public, whether in the school room or the other outside events that feature the Waystation’s animals.”
Martine Colette acknowledges: “Animal rescue and protection has never been a money making business and those operations with large animal populations are especially vulnerable. Two respectable large animal sanctuaries in Texas have just gone belly up, victims of the same financial crisis that’s affecting the WayStation. And the blunt fact is that, in these cases, there is no place for the animals to go.
“If the worst happens, there is no place in Los Angeles County that can take in an animal population of 400 – tigers, chimps, bird, reptiles.
”This must never happen. We do good work here.”
Wildlife WayStation Particulars:
14831 Little Tujunga Canyon Rd.
Sylmar, Ca. 91342-5999
People/Business’s can make donations by: Mail, In-person, Phone, Web-site, Facebook
The WayStation accepts: Cash, Checks, Money Orders, Credit/Debit Cards
Text Wildlife to 20222 on your cell phone to make an instant $10 donation that will show up on your next bill.
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For more information & other ways to help please visit www.wildlifewaystation.org