Wildlife Center Given Maricopa County Permit

By Annika Cline
Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 6:37pm
Annika Cline/KJZZ
Tocho the mountain lion eats his breakfast.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a special-use permit Wednesday for the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. It will allow the center to have tour groups and camps, which it said is a large part of its fundraising.

The center used to operate these without proper permitting. Then a neighbor sued the Center over complaints about dust, noise and lack of a permit. In March, KJZZ interviewed center director Linda Searles, who said the center is an important place for injured wildlife.

“There’s few places for wildlife to go," Searles said. "Most veterinary hospitals will not see wildlife, so they have no alternative. We’re it.”

The permit is good for 20 years. The neighbor who filed the lawsuit declined to comment on the board’s decision.