Drought Leaves Wildlife Waystation High and Dry - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Drought Leaves Wildlife Waystation High and Dry

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 Is the California drought affecting lions and tigers in Los Angeles? You bet! At the Wildlife Waystation in Tujunga, hundreds of rescued exotic animals, and even some not-so-exotic ones, are thirsty. The ponds and moats are filled only as much as needed to keep animals comfortable in the 90 degree-plus heat. The tigers can drink up to three gallons of water a day. And when you’ve got 13 tigers, 11 African lions, four grizzlies, numerous raccoons, raptors, pigs, zebras, and more… well, let’s just say that 400 or so animals drink a lot of water.

The property, high up in Little Tujunga Canyon, has three wells, but they are not producing. So, every day, ten to twelve 2,500-gallon water trucks make the trek up the mountain and put water into tanks for the animals' use.  It’s expensive and a nightmare for a facility that runs mainly on donations and with the help of volunteers.  In addition, the Wildlife Waystation is not open to the public like it used to be.  It needs to bring some of the requirements in its conditional use permit up-to-date . That means money. But without public visit fees, there is no money.

It’s a vicious cycle. The drought is drying the wells. The cost of water is going up.  Donations are going down.  And these animals are not releasable. Many of them have genetic problems from bad breeding on the black market for illegal pets .  Luxuries like a dunk in water-filled tanks for the White Bengal Tigers are almost impossible. There is a rotation for the filling of moats with the precious liquid. Bears sit  in a few fingers of water and lions lap up their water bowls as soon as they are filled. That is the first priority: drinking water, which makes the Waystation’s other priority getting funds to pay for the water and the  water trucks.

People can donate their time, their money, and some items. A young boy is sponsoring a red fox with his allowance money.  Schools have adopted a favorite animal, like the old lion, Moran. People can volunteer to work at the center.

You can find out more on their website:   www.wildlifewaystaytion.org or like their Facebook page   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wildlife-Waystation-Official-Fan-Page/1357251

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