San Luis Obispo County's only wildlife rehabilitation center licensed by the state and U.S. Government is planning to move out of Morro Bay.
For more than 36 years, Pacific Wildlife Care has helped injured, abandoned, and sick wildlife from all over San Luis Obispo County.
"This year, we've received about 1,600 animals so far in 2021, and that represents so far about 170 different individual species," said Pacific Wildlife Care Executive Director Christine Johnson.
Since 2006, they've called Morro Bay "home." The property is part rehab center, part animal hospital, operating seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Just about anything you see in your backyard or your neighborhoods we probably have in care today," Johnson explained.
Some of the animals which are non-releasable serve as educational animals and go to local schools, like Penny Opossum.
"Penny is blind," said Cathy Duncan, Pacific Wildlife Care Education Director. "She came into us head-injured. This year, we have taken in a lot of baby possums. Over 230 have come in so far."
The site that houses all these animals is leased from the energy company that owns the Morro Bay Power Plant. With the change in plant ownership, they've been negotiating with current owner, Vistra, and are extending their stay until at least 2023.
In the meantime, the nonprofit purchased 10 acres of property off Buckley Road in San Luis Obispo.
The new location will provide more stability for the nonprofit, plus it's more centrally located being right off Highway 101.
"We do believe that we will have a higher profile and that we will receive more animals from other parts of the county," Johnson said.
Right now, architects are helping plan, it's in the pipeline with the county planning department, and they're looking at launching a funding campaign.
"Our plans are to build a new modern clinic as well as a center that volunteers can come to. We have over 200 volunteers that help us in our operations," Johnson explained.
They also have eight interns, and seven full-time staff members including a wildlife vet.
The goal is to move to the new location in the next couple of years and continue with their mission of helping those injured in the wild that are busy helping us, too.
"In your yard at night, they'll eat your snails. They'll eat your slugs. They eat mice. They eat fruit that falls to the ground," Duncan said about the animals.
Last year, Pacific Wildlife Care was able to help about 2,600 animals which is an increase with so many people home and doing things outside due to the pandemic.
If you're interested in volunteering, they're also looking for volunteers at this time. Visit their website or call (805) 543-9453 for more information.