Why Wildlife Sanctuaries Are Necessary

There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm… Now and then we hear the wilder voices of the wilderness, from animals that in the hours of darkness do not fear the neighborhood of man: the coyotes wail like dismal ventriloquists, or the silence may be broken by the snorting and stamping of a deer.” –President Theodore Roosevelt
By Diane Dragotto Williams
Wildlife sanctuaries have been born out of necessity. Man’s interruption of life in the wild through urbanization, depletion of natural resources, and unconscious, selfish motives of human needs, demands the separation of a place to protect wild animals. Also, the compassionate, intelligent citizens of a state, or country have a right to protect that which is legally theirs, overseen by government agencies like California Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services.
Beginning this type of work in 1994, the San Bernardino Mountains Wildlife Society has stressed the importance of wildlife preservation, while educating the public about the importance of the flora and fauna we are blessed with. We have witnessed, and cared for thousands of injured and orphaned animals whose state was begun by the interference of man, on purpose, or by accident. It is our responsibility as good stewards of this earth to repair what we can and close the breach between man and animal which has been broadened by ignorance throughout the centuries.
One of the earliest guests was Willow, an orphan mule deer fawn, whose mother was shot during hunting season. She was found, frightened, trembling  and hungry without a herd to protect her. As she was raised at Wildhaven Ranch, she gained her innate nature to fight for life. She grew to be a lovely and dominant doe that saw to the needs of her herd. She gained the respect of us all, and at the proper time, she and those with her were released back into the wild. For a season, she needed “sanctuary,” a place to heal, and to be born again to be what she was created to be. Now she brings her fawns to our sanctuary to feed on abundant browse, and to rest in the shade of our oak trees, secure in the knowledge that no one will hunt her, or her herd, at this safe place.
Some of our wild ones do not have the privilege of living again in the vast outback of the wild, and must live their lives on a wildlife sanctuary like Wildhaven, where we tend to their needs and give them a protected life, and at the same time, elevate their position as Animal Ambassadors, teaching man! They bring great joy, inspiration and relevance to the lives of many children and adults that visit our ranch.
At Wildhaven, we struggle to invest in our wild beings, to give every shred of time, energy and funds to give them a place to call home. We invite you to be a part of that precious mission: “Preserving wildlife helps heal the human spirit.” Join us for a day with our resident wildlife, from bears to eagles. Meet Bandit, the raccoon who amazes guests with his dexterity of paws! Watch Misha, the black bear, as she reveals herself as a tree hugger. You may see Lexus, the bobcat stalk his prey! And many other wild ones waiting for you.
To conclude, in Thodore Roosevelt’s words: It is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird.”

Wildhaven Ranch is a wildlife sanctuary in Cedar Glen that gives programs to the public by appointments only. Bears, Bobcat, coyotes, deer, Eagles, falcon, hawk, owl and raccoons are seen “up close and personal” in guided tours. For reservation, call (909) 337-7789 or email ddwilliams@hughes.net.

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