Roving Ranchers Visit Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Pat Sand

The Roving Ranchers had a fun and interesting tour at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in north Scottsdale. The center rehabilitates native wildlife that are injured, orphaned, or displaced. The goal is always to rehabilitate and release the animals back to their native habitats, but some are unable to be returned and the center serves as a sanctuary for those animals. Southwest Wildlife is the only accredited sanctuary in Arizona that has the capability to care for large mammals like bears, mountain lions, horses, burros, and Mexican gray wolves.

About 20 Ranchers participated in the tour. We divided into two groups. Each group had their own personalized tour guide who led us through the sanctuary. All the animals on the tour are not able to be released back into the wild. The guides explained the stories behind each animal during the two-hour outdoor tour. The animals are in penned areas with fencing, but visitors are allowed to get quite close to the cages. The guides explained how the animals came to the sanctuary, for example, if they were injured or kept as “pets.” They reviewed the rehabilitation process and were proud of their ongoing relationship with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Arizona Game and Fish, who capture and release rehabilitated animals. For their orphaned animals, they have certain animals who act as parents and “teach” hunting skills and help raise them.

The center has about 70 animals in residence. The animals include bears, bobcats, mountain lions, a beaver, raccoons, a teenage tortoise, wolves, and coyotes. Tours are offered year-round by appointment.