Wildlife WayStation

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Wildlife WayStation
Date opened 1976
Location Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, United States
Land area 160 acres (65 ha)
No. of animals 400[1]
Website www.wildlifewaystation.org

The Wildlife WayStation is a 160 acre animal sanctuary in northern Los Angeles County dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating wild and exotic animals. A charitable corporation located within the boundaries of Angeles National Forest, the facility was founded in 1976 by animal activist Martine Colette, who still serves as the organization's director.


A distemper epidemic in 1992 closed the sanctuary for almost a year. The sanctuary had been treating a large number of racoons and skunks with canine distemper, which crossed over to the big cats. 18 big cats died in this epidemic.[2]

In September 1995, the Waystation was contacted after some big cats escaped from Ligertown in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. They rescued 27 lions and ligers from "filthy, feces-filled tunnels and pens," many of them in poor health and ranging from cubs to full grown adults, but 19 others were killed by authorities in the roundup. The rescued animals were taken to the Waystation and cared for. The owners of Ligertown were charged with cruelty to animals.[3]

In August 2009, a forest fire in the Angeles National Forest threatened the facility, and many of the animals were evacuated.[1]

In May 2016 numerous employees and volunteers were fired, leading to controversy. [4]

In December 2017, the Creek Fire burned part of the facility, and animals were evacuated. [5]


The Wildlife WayStation houses about 400 wild and exotic animals, including lions, tigers, leopards, mountain lions, jaguars, bobcats, bears, primates, deer, coyotes, and wolves. Many animals in the facility were the property of people who found they were unwilling or unable to continue to keep their so-called exotic pets and either abandoned the animals, which were later found and rescued by Colette and the staff, or surrendered them to the WayStation, escaping further responsibility for the animals. The animals often arrive at the WayStation in poor health and must be cared for by veterinarians.

In the media[edit]

Martine Colette AKA Martine Dawson appeared as herself in the Samuel Fuller movie 'White Dog'. Part of the film was shot on the premises.

The Wildlife WayStation was the focus of the first episode "Walk on the Wild Side" of Marcel's Quantum Kitchen on the SyFy channel.

The future[edit]

The Wildlife WayStation was seeking to move from its mountain location, possibly to the northern edge of Palm Springs, in 2007. It was looking to create an 80 acre facility outside the Angeles National Forest and downsize the original location to about 20 acres.[6] Suzanne Sommers was said to have been considering donating the land.[7] As of July 2015, the organization is still in its original location.


  1. ^ a b "Wildlife Waystation being evacuated in LA fires". newsvine.com. Newswvine, Inc. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Looking Back". wildlifewaystation.org. Wildlife WayStation. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "27 exotic cats seized, 19 fatally shot". pet-abuse.com. Pet-Abuse.com. Retrieved 23 October 2007. 
  4. ^ "Former Volunteers At Wildlife Waystation Upset Over Being Let Go". 26 May 2016. 
  5. ^ BRITTNY MEJIA (7 December 2017). "Wildlife Waystation set to bring back exotic, wild animals evacuated due to Creek fire". Daily News. Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  6. ^ Glick, Julia (6 August 2007). "Palm Springs in running to become wildlife waystation". pe.com. The Press Enterprise. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Animal sanctuary considers home in Coachella Valley". pe.com. The Press Enterprise. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 

External links[edit]