Other Side of the Mountain: Wild Haven

I don’t often visit wildlife havens or zoos much these days. In the past, all my working AND free time was spent at such facilities. However, not too long ago I was invited to go visit Wild Haven in Cedar Glen with the Mountain Social Links gang.

Above: Some of the Mountain Social Links group of adventurers!

I enjoy the outings and the mix of people from all over. So, I headed down to the Bus Stop where we all met to car pool out to the place. Much of Cedar Glen was ravaged by the Old Fire. As we meandered down the road we could see vast expanses of where homes and forest burned.

Above & Below: Cedar Glen view from Wild Haven. Most of Wild Haven burned–although a structure or two survived in the center–around which everything else was torched.

Today, four years later, growth has resumed. Some people are actually rebuilding–interestingly enough, some of the structures are built with cement and stone work. Probably not a bad idea considering how dry everything is these days.

Above: Guess where we are!

The tour was about two hours long and it was hot. We gathered in a covered education area where we meet some winged wonders. After that, it was an amble across the grounds.

The critters were well kept and the enclosures were clean and secure. The dedicated volunteers were pleasant and provided basic education about the unreleasable creatures–but I would have liked to have heard more about their success with rehabilitation and the issues surrounding wildlife rehabilitation.

Above: The Horned Owl–smaller than the ones I’ve meet before.

Originally created in 1994 and operated by the San Bernardino Mountains Wildlife Society, the group moved to Cedar Glen in 2000. The new site sits on a 35 acre ranch and services indigenous wildlife. I am not clear as to if the entire operation is Wild Haven or if the wildlife rehabilitation center is still known as the Forever Free Wildlife Care Center–maybe I missed that somehow.

Above: American Kestrel or Sparrow Hawk

Most of you don’t know that I was president of a wildlife care center and rescue group, and because I am from an animal training background I tend to be super nervous when interactions with captive wildlife are presented to the public–for a number of reasons. No matter how much you say, “Wild animals do not make good pets…” actions speak louder than words. So…

Above: Raccoon

What happened when you looked at that raccoon? Did you say, how cute?

Most people would–but raccoons can be really nasty. Health risks aside, they are pretty aggressive as they age. But my previous point, about how people perceive creatures, is what I want to stress here. A raccoon on a bright blue leash for safety is good but it also creates a subliminal message and I was concerned by a few other mammal interactions I witnessed…never mind that the animals were also getting grumpy from the heat.

Above: Stunning art work upon entry into the educational area.

All in all it was a nice day. We appreciated all the hard work and energy that obviously goes into Wild Haven. Rehabilitation work and protecting our wildlife is a vital service–if you get a chance, drop by for a two hour tour.

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