The Humane Society of the United States has gifted the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona to the San Diego Humane Society, the local private animal nonprofit announced Tuesday.
The 13-acre wildlife center, which has been part of the Humane Society of the United States for more than two decades, provides care to wildlife, including native apex predators such as bears, bobcats, coyotes and birds of prey. The HSUS and the San Diego Humane Society are not affiliated.
With the center, the San Diego Humane Society will be able to expand its lifesaving capacity to rescue, rehabilitate and release additional species of injured and orphaned wildlife throughout San Diego County. It will also continue to care for 29 of the center's existing "ambassador animals," including a bear, bobcats, snakes and a pygmy hippo.
"This a big step for wildlife and our environmentally conscious community," said Gary Weitzman, SDHS president. "By bringing this exceptional wildlife and conservation program into the lifesaving work of Project Wildlife, we'll be able to care for many more orphaned or injured wild species, from hummingbirds and owls to bobcats and coyotes."
In 2019, the Humane Society of the United States made a strategic decision to scale back some of its care center work, which included the transfer of Fund for Animals to SDHS after a search of organizations.
"We're excited that San Diego Humane Society will be taking on that role," said Melissa Rubin, president of the Fund for Animals. "Their Project Wildlife program is already one of the largest and most well-recognized programs in the country, and the center will add new capacities to its work. We're thrilled that the center will be run by a group with their expertise."
The center comes with a fully equipped medical center with trained staff, a 150-foot, free-flight enclosure for recovering birds of prey and spacious enclosures for mammals.
It is one of only two licensed bear rehabilitation centers in California.
A 47-year-old pygmy hippo named Hannah Shirley spends her days relaxing in her own natural pond. Her 13,000-square-foot paddock also includes a swimming pool.