By Jules Shane
On March 8, a crowd gathered outside the newly opened Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center at the San Diego Humane Society building on Gaines Street in Linda Vista to celebrate and cut the ribbon for the new facility. San Diego Humane Society staff and local public officials toured the facility and spoke on the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with the wildlife that calls the region home.
Donors, volunteers, and residents met with some of the society’s animal ambassadors, which included red-shouldered hawks, western screech owls, acorn woodpeckers, and opossums. With the continued growth of urban sprawl, it has become increasingly rare to see some of these animals up close. Wildlife specialists stood by, answering questions and providing information about native animal species and habitats.
Local philanthropist Pilar Bahde, for whom the center is named, was in attendance to accept honors for herself and her late husband.
“I’m very proud of what my husband brought about because he was really among the very first that committed himself to making it possible,” she said in reference to his charitable work with the Humane Society. This facility marks the second to be named for the couple, after the opening of the Pilar & Chuck Bahde Center for Shelter Medicine last November.
More than two years in the making, the Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center is the new home of operations for Project Wildlife, the city’s sole resource for wildlife care and rehabilitation. Previously operating out of a 1,100-square-foot triage center, the new facility is more than four times as large at 5,200 square feet. The new center is also equipped with cutting-edge medical and surgical suites that will allow Project Wildlife to expand their available services. The nonprofit organization treats upwards of 12,000 animals of over 320 different species each year. Staff provides medical and rehabilitation services for injured and young animals in need of care before rereleasing them back into their natural habitat.
“Wild animals rely on Project Wildlife for a second chance, and the new Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center will be instrumental in helping us provide them with the best care possible,” said Lauren DuBois, director of Wildlife Rehabilitation. “The new Wildlife Center meets the ever-growing needs of local wildlife and accommodates the incredible diversity of the animal species we serve.”
The Humane Society and Project Wildlife are in need of volunteers to continue their mission of improving the quality of life for the animals that share our home. To get involved, or learn more about their work, visit them at bit.ly/2XMk1gB.
—Jules Shane is an editorial intern at SDCNN, parent company of Mission Valley News.