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From the Founder

What’s Happening

The Job of an Animal Keeper

Our Year In Review

Expanding Our Mission

The Javelina Experience



outhwest Wildlife rescues and rehabilitates wildlife that has been injured, displaced, and orphaned. Once rehabilitated, they are returned to the wild. Wildlife education includes advice on living with wildlife and the importance of native wildlife to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Education and humane scientific research opportunities are offered in the field of conservation medicine. Sanctuary is provided to animals that cannot be released back to the wild.

Board of Directors Anne Ruddy — Chair Linda Moore — Assistant Director Mike Wilson Michael Sapp Dr. Mark Finke Ann Siner

SWCC Staff Linda Searles — Director Linda Moore — Assistant Director Kim Carr — Animal Care Director James O’Brien — Veterinary Tech Lynne Cataldo — Animal Care Specialist Amy Barnhill — Education Director


2016: A Year In Review page 3 Our New Education Director page 4 Arizona Game and Fish Department Commendation page 4 Expanding Our Mission page 5 The Javelina Experience page 7 Species360 Page 8 Animal Collection Page 10 Other Ways to Help the SWCC Page 11 2

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center


2016: A Year In Review


016 was a year of peaks and valleys for the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. As the sound of yips and howls from the coyotes and wolves echoes across our facility, most people stop in wonderment and listen with rapt attention. But one neighbor found the noise irritating, and filed both a zoning complaint and a lawsuit against SWCC. This was a very low time for our organization, because if we were ruled against in either the complaint or the lawsuit, it would mean the end of SWCC and all we had worked for. The morale of the staff plummeted. And what would happen to the animals? Undoubtedly the majority would be euthanized, as few homes could be found to take our sanctuary animals. We were devastated, but knew we had to fight back as the lives of all those animals depended on us. It turned out we did not have to fight alone. Word of our plight spread rapidly through our community, and our Rio Verde neighbors, volunteers, donors and friends rallied around us. The support we received was amazing! A petition was launched in support of SWCC, and more than 200,000 people from Arizona, throughout the United States, and all across the globe signed their name in support of our mission. Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri championed our cause and assisted us with the permit process. Our legal team of Sam Coppersmith, Andy Gordon and John Kelly

from Coppersmith Brockelman were instrumental in guiding us through the legal process. And our litigator Michael Clyde of Perkins Cole came to our rescue as well. We literally would not be here today without the expertise, kindness and willingness of these fine people to take up our cause, and devote their time and compassion to our animals. A special thanks goes to the

turmoil, worrying about the future of SWCC, it all culminated on June 22nd when Maricopa County granted us a Special Use Permit. The unanimous vote by Denny Barney from District One, Steve Chucri from District Two, Andy Kunasek from District Three, Clint Hickman from District Four, and Steve Gallardo from District Five ensured SWCC of a future. More good news followed, as our team

I have always said it takes a village to run SWCC. But in this case, it took much more to save it. scores of donors who recognized our situation as dire and helped us financially. President and CEO Gene D’Adamo from the Nina Mason Pulliam Trust wrote a wonderful editorial in support of us, and the Trust also gave a generous donation to keep us afloat while the battle went on. Linda Valdez of the Arizona Republic wrote an article that brought public awareness of our situation. Our donors responded generously, for which we are immensely grateful. You can never know the difference you made in keeping us afloat and our animals fed and well cared for. Special thanks also goes to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, specifically Director Larry Voles, Program Manager Mike Demlong for their letters of support, and Chief of Public Information Jim Paxton for testifying at the county hearing in support of SWCC. After spending over a year in

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of attorneys led by Sam Coppersmith informed us the lawsuit had been dropped. We could officially get back to our mission of saving wildlife, one life at a time. I have always said it takes a village to run SWCC. But in this case, it took much more to save it. Our friends, neighborhood, community, state and beyond pulled together in order to keep SWCC there for our wildlife. Thank you to everyone who supported us by signing the petition, donating funds, writing letters, coming to hearings, spreading the word about us. Your contributions both large and small took us to the top of the peak from the depth of despair. I can’t thank you enough.

Linda Searles




Amy Barnhill, our new education director

In November SWCC hired Amy Barnhill as our new education director. Amy comes to us from the Rolling Hills Zoo in Salina, Kansas where she was the director of education. Prior to that she worked at the Houston Zoo as an education specialist, and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, where she recruited and trained volunteers to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals. Amy’s position at SWCC will include developing educational curriculum that meets state and national standards, developing budgets, writing grants, and managing our volunteer program. She is also in the process of developing a summer camp experience for youth at SWCC. In addition to Amy’s experience, she has a passion for animals that includes wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. She understands the importance of connecting children and adults to nature. We are very excited to have Amy join the SWCC team!

SWCC receives prestigious award from the Arizona Game and Fish Commissioners Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center was honored to be the recipient of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s ‘Commission


Commendation of Achievement’ for the work we have done over the past two decades. Our efforts to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife, conduct

humane research, and educate people about wildlife conservation were recognized by the AZGFD with this award. SWCC attempts to assist the AZGFD whenever possible, and this recognition from the Department is certainly a testament to the hard work done by SWCC Director Linda Searles, the staff, and our volunteers. Southwest Wildlife is also dedicated to educating the next generation of wildlife stewards. This award will facilitate that process by increasing public awareness of our facility, and helping to obtain grants and funding for education.

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center


Expanding Our Mission


outhwest Wildlife is committed to educating people about wildlife and its conservation. As space at our current facility is quite limited, we are investigating the possibility of relocating our education center to another location. We are looking into partnership opportunities within the area that will enable us to expand our education outreach. Our Rio Verde facility will remain the headquarters for our rescue and rehabilitation work, as well as housing for Mexican wolves and many of our sanctuary animals.

Valley Fever

Many residents of the southwest are familiar with Valley Fever, a condition that can affect both humans and their pets. It is a disease caused by the fungus Coccidioides and is only found in North and South America (see map below). Valley Fever’s microscopic spores grow in the soil, and are inhaled by breathing in the dust that surrounds us all. In humans, it can range from no symptoms to being very ill and requiring treatment. In our pets and in wildlife it can be fatal if not treated. Successful treatment requires antifungal

medications that can be quite expensive. At SWCC, we routinely test wildlife for this disease. The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is currently conducting research into Valley Fever. When SWCC heard about the work they are doing, we offered to share our records of the disease from over the past 10 years. TGen was delighted, and so are we! The hope is that a cure can be found for Valley Fever, and possibly even a vaccine. SWCC is delighted to help play a part by contributing information they can utilize. Continued

Areas Endemic for Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever)

Highly endemic

Established endemic

Suspected endemic

If you are interested in the work TGen’s Valley Fever P.A.W.S is doing, check out their web site: www.tgen.org/home/research/dog-and-human-precision-medicine/valley-fever-paws

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Midwestern University in Arizona SWCC and Midwestern University will be working together to give veterinary students valuable hands on experience with wildlife. Dr. Nancy Bradley of Midwestern University will be rotating some of the university students to SWCC to gain wildlife medicine experience. These veterinary students will learn about animal care and behavior as well as wildlife medicine. SWCC veterinary technician James O’Brien will be coordinating the program, and our volunteer veterinarians will also be given the opportunity to participate.

SWCC Has Moved Into New Hospital Southwest Wildlife was very fortunate to have received funding from For Those Without a Voice for an addition to our existing veterinary hospital. Construction occurred during the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, during which time we had to temporarily move everything out of our clinic. Although it was challenging to do so, we managed to continue receiving wildlife cases and took care of all our medical needs. The first major use of the new hospital occurred within a week of moving back in, as a team of scientists from St Louis came to collect reproductive material from some of our Mexican wolves. Everyone remarked how much easier it was to do the procedures with plenty of room to spare for setting up a temporary lab area, plus the ability


The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), also known as the lobo. It is the most endangered gray wolf in North America

to work on multiple wolves at the same time. The new hospital was well worth the effort it took to complete construction, and we are extremely grateful to For Those Without a Voice for this wonderful addition to our facility.

Mexican Wolf reproduction SWCC continues to do our part for the Mexican wolf recovery program by taking in older animals that have lost their companions, and are taking up valuable space that could be used for larger groups of wolves. Many of these wolves are then selected for neutering due to

their age. Reproductive material removed during spays and neuters is shipped directly to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Reproductive Physiology Laboratory in St Louis. The scientists there process the material, freeze it, and bank it for future use. This process ensures the genetic diversity of this endangered species will be preserved. SWCC has been dedicated to the wolf recovery program since receiving our first Mexican wolf in 1995. All Mexican wolves are property of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and are on loan to us. However, SWCC receives no federal or state funding for their care.

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

The Javelina Experience


art of the job of an animal keeper at Southwest Wildlife is to raise orphaned animals that come to our center. Caring for newborns often requires bottle or syringe feeding until they’re old enough to eat on their own. The idea of bottle feeding a helpless little baby conjures up certain images. You might envision a peaceful experience as a baby quietly suckles from the bottle until their belly is full and they’re ready for a nap. While this may be an accurate portrayal of some species we care for, it doesn’t come close to describing the “javelina experience.”

When javelina orphans arrive, we know they’re missing their families and that’s why we do everything possible to make them feel safe and secure; warm incubator, fuzzy blanket and a stuffed animal to cuddle. Feeding time is when the real challenge begins. Did you know javelina are born with teeth? So much for the relaxing experience. Bottle feeding quickly becomes a frustrating game of tug-o-war which the javelina always wins. And don’t you dare try to rush them. They know when you’re pressed for time and will make sure to be extra uncooperative. Just for fun, they like to rip the nipple off the bottle and toss it clear across the room, spraying formula everywhere. As an added bonus, we put canned pumpkin in

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their special diet. This results in splattered orange mess all over the walls, our clothes and usually our hair! It’s tough to explain the dried pumpkin in your hair when you stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. It’s best to bring a double dose of patience and a hazmat suit for the “javelina experience.” Once they’re eating from a dish, it means less pumpkin on us and more on them. We would love to bathe them, but they’d never agree to it. We don’t mind spunky javelina. It’s a positive sign that they’re doing well! How do we stay sane with all the javelina we raise year-round? With a sense of humor and knowing they’ll eventually be released back into the wild where they belong.



What is Species 360 and why does SWCC subscribe to it ?


pecies360 (formerly International Species Information System or ISIS), founded in 1974, is an international non-profit organization that maintains an online database of wild animals maintained in captivity. As of 2016, the organization serves more than 1,000 zoos, aquariums and zoological associations in 90 countries worldwide. The organization provides its members with zoological data collection and management software called ZIMS— the Zoological Information Management System. As of 2016, the ZIMS database contains information on 21,000 taxonomies at species level; it also includes 74,000,000 medical records. Members use the basic biologic information (age, sex, parentage, place of birth, circumstance of death, etc.) Collected in the system to care for and manage their animal collections (including demographic and genetic manage-


ment in many cases). It is also used for ex situ breeding programs and supporting conservation research and programs. Since its founding in 1973, the

ment relies on accurate information about animals in all member institutions, especially pedigree history (parentage) and demography (births and deaths). Species360’s Mission is to facilitate international collaboration in the collection and sharing of knowledge on animals and their environments for zoos, aquariums and related conservation organizations to serve institutional, regional and global animal management and conservation goals.

group has been a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) pursuing wild animal conservation goals. Species360 works in partnership with zoo associations around the world. Modern zoos and aquariums often are “gene banks” for endangered species. In some cases, species which have become extinct in the wild and have been bred in zoos are eventually returned to the wild. Scientific expertise on husbandry, nutrition, veterinary care and so on is spread throughout the zoos and aquaria of the world. Breeding and population manage-

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

At SWCC we are all about second chances, sending them back to the wild were they belong.

SWCC volunteer veterinarian Rich Fisher DVM and SWCC vet tech James O’Brian taking a well deserved break after a they backpacked raccoons into a remote riparian area to release.

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Wildlife Rescues Increased in 2016


outhwest Wildlife saw a significant increase in the number of animals arriving at our door in 2016. The year 2015 brought us 226 animals of various species needing rescue. In 2016, however, that number rose to 264! We cannot be sure of the reason behind this, but we surmise as public awareness of our facility increased, more people called us when they saw wildlife that needed help. We hope it is not because more wildlife was being affected by some other cause, but that is always a possibility, especially as areas of human habitation expand.

The majority of our animal rescues involve coyotes, bobcats, javelina, raccoons, and skunks. SWCC also took in a few other smaller species such as rabbits, squirrels and beavers. The following charts gives an indication of the success of our rehabilitation efforts. The category of “Deaths at or Near Entry” involves animals that were in poor condition upon arrival of SWCC rescuers and/or died or were humanely euthanized within a week. “Deaths During Rehabilitation” includes newborns that failed to thrive despite our best efforts to raise them. “Pending

Release” refers to animals that are still at SWCC awaiting release, and usually includes young animals from later in the year and waiting for winter to end before being released. “Permanent Sanctuary” denotes non-releasable animals. Although some of these animals were transferred to other sanctuaries and/or zoos accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association( AZA )or The American Sanctuary Association (ASA), some remained at SWCC, which is also accredited by the ASA and will be used as foster parents.

Disposition of surviving wildlife rescued by SWCC

Disposition of all wildlife rescued by SWCC

n Released or Pending release, 91.4% n Received Permanent Sanctuary, 8.6%

n Released or Pending release, 60.2% n Received Permanent Sanctuary, 5.7% n Deaths, 34.1%

Of the 264 wild animals rescued by SWCC in 2016, over 91% of the surviving animals have been or will be released back into the wild—where they belong!


Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Other Ways to Help SWCC Amazon Smile… It is easy! All you have to do is go to Amazon Smile when you are purchasing from Amazon and search for Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. Amazon will make a donation to SWCC based on the amount of your purchases.

Arizona Gives Day SAVE THE DATE! April 4, 2017 is Arizona Gives Day, a grassroots, statewide, single day of giving that invites everyone to give to their favorite Arizona nonprofit organizations! Visit www.azgives.org and look for Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center to schedule your donation in advance, OR SAVE THE DATE and give on April 4th to make us eligible for cash prizes available, based on the number of donors and dollar amounts of donations made on that day. Giving saves lives! #azgives

can count on – like family – to always be there when an animal needs help. Visit our website to learn more: www.southwestwildlife.org/donate/ wildfamily/

children and animals in Arizona. Join them for a fun and exciting evening: http://ftwav.org/even

My Sisters Closet When redecorating or cleaning out your closet or attic, take your high-end items to My Sisters Closet or My Sisters Attic. Request that SWCC benefits when the items are sold!

Dinner with Wolves April 2 This event is held at SWCC and benefits SWCC and Defenders of Wildlife. Join the pack for an evening of fun, good food, and a serenade by the wolves: www.dinnerwithwolves.com/

Other Ways to Donate • Stock donations • Planned Giving • Land donations • Create a legacy through endowments or memorials

SWCC Wish List Visit our web site and see what we need on our wish list. Then visit Amazon Smile and donate them to SWCC!

Adopt an animal Visit our web site and adopt an animal as an alternative gift .

Become a Wild Family member Become a part of our Wild Family monthly giving program and support Southwest Wildlife’s mission to Save Our Wildlife, One Life at a Time! When you sign up to join our Wild Family with a monthly gift, you’re providing a consistent, reliable stream of income that we

Upcoming benefits For Those With Out a Voice On April 29th For Those With Out A Voice will be holding their 11th annual benefit at the Omni Resort in Scottsdale. This event benefits

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Scout projects It’s a privilege for us to work with Boy Scouts wishing to complete projects to fulfill their Eagle Scout requirements. These projects are a huge benefit for both Southwest Wildlife and the Scouts. For more information, contact us at: scouts@southwestwildlife.org.



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Profile for Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Winter 2017  

Winter 2017