For the past 43 years, Arlington’s Sarvey Wildlife Care Center has provided a safe haven for animals in need.
Wildlife ranging from bald eagles to beavers come through the center to be cared for and released.
“I love the fact that we can help so many animals that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance,” says Suzanne West, executive director at the center.
‘To heal, to nurture, and to release’
The center cares for more than 3,000 animals a year, spanning 135 species. Each creature is a testament to the diversity of life the center vows to protect. “Most animals come in due to human impact,” Suzanne notes.
Adaptations to enclosures ensure they serve multiple purposes. Suzanne recalls an albatross that strayed far from its native Hawaii, an unusual guest that posed a unique challenge. In cases like these, they refer animals to other centers that are closer to their natural habitat, and the albatross was ultimately released in California.
Amazing people in the community have supported their work – and the animals – over the years. When the center first opened, an ambulance driver nicknamed Crazy Bob “would go anywhere, anytime to get anything,” even rescuing a coyote from a federal building elevator in Seattle!
Today, the center is open seven days a week with a team of 6 staff members, 30 to 40 volunteers, and 10 to 12 interns during the Summer months.
The staff are licensed professionals who provide anything from specialized diets to vaccinations, to ensure animals can return to their natural habitats. “It’s important to support our ecosystem,” Suzanne emphasizes, acknowledging the critical role each species plays.
With a focus on ensuring independence by encouraging natural development, whether by teaching a woodpecker to forage, helping birds build stamina for flight or introducing an orphaned raccoon to others of its species, the center prepares each animal for release.
A more equipped facility
The center, a fixture for more than 40 years, is looking ahead at how it will continue meeting the needs of wildlife amid aging infrastructure.
“We’re expanding, and building a new hospital to ensure we can continue our work for the next 50, 60 years,” Suzanne says.
This expansion, vital for their survival, still depends heavily on community support, with a capital campaign underway to fund the project.
Key to that campaign is the Go Wild Gala, coming up on March 23 and featuring live and silent auctions, delicious food and festive cocktails, the chance to meet some of their resident birds of prey and more!
Gala tickets are available now, with proceeds going to the new hospital. All activity will continue in the current building, while the new facility is being built.