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Wildlife Waystation Closes Prompting Relocation Of Over 400 Wild Animals

SYLMAR (CBSLA) — More than 400 animals will have to be relocated following the closure of Wildlife Waystation in Sylmar, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced Tuesday.

The CDFW confirmed that the more than 400 wild animals being rehabilitated at the waystation will be moved beginning Wednesday, Aug. 13.

For weeks prior, the possibility of a permanent closure had been imminent.

"There was some extensive damage done to the wildlife way station both in 2017 with the Creek Fire and in 2019 with some flooding earlier this year and they're not able to get the facility up to current standards," said CDFW's Jordan Traverso.

The CDFW was on-site Tuesday, ensuring that daily operations ran smoothly and working with animal welfare organizations to place the animals into other facilities.

Some of the animals the waystation houses are wolves rescued from fur farms and over 40 chimpanzees rescued from medical experimentation facilities.

When asked if they will be able to re-house the animals Traverso said, "It's going to take a while but yes, we can find a place, and we've already got some good prospects on the line."

However, some of the animals being cared for are more fragile than others and require more attention.

"I understand that a lot of the animals at the facility are older and are under some kind of medical care so I would say probably any that are under some veterinary treatment are going to be the more difficult animals to place.  There are a lot of chimpanzees, there are 42 chimpanzees, there are some bears, there are some tigers and lions and smaller primates, but again we're going to be here to make sure everything blends very smoothly" said Traverso.

The CDFW could begin removing the animals as soon as Tuesday, but they say it could take more than a year before all of them have been relocated.

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