We’ve heard from many of our supporters who have questions about the recent announcement that HSUS, an affiliate of South Florida Wildlife Center, is working on transitioning the operations of the Center and looking for alternatives for continuing the work of the Center.

There is a significant amount of misinformation circulating, so we have compiled some of the questions we are being asked frequently about this news.

We recognize this is a lot of uncertainty. We are incredibly grateful to all of our volunteers and supporters and hope that you will continue to stick with us. For those who would like to be kept apprised of updates that we usually share only with staff and volunteers, please sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.

You can share this page with your friends on twitter, Facebook or via e-mail here.

What happened?
The South Florida Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the HSUS since 2009, was informed by Broward County, after over 45 years on the same property, that it will no longer be able to operate on its current location in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This is because the property is being assessed for airport expansion, and as a result, the Center will be required to relocate.  The new property offered by the County will be significantly more costly to build on. In light of this development and after re-assessing its investment in South Florida Wildlife Center and its alignment with the HSUS’s strategic vision, the HSUS is working on transitioning the operations of the South Florida Wildlife Center and looking at alternatives for continuing the work of the Center.

I want to help. What can I do?
We’re so grateful to our supporters, and understand that this is a difficult time. Right now, there is a lot of misinformation about the Center out there. While we are still working on what the transition of operations will look like, sharing our social media posts to spread the word about the good work being done to help animals helps let people know that we are still open, and need their support. Sharing this webpage with your friends and family is also very much appreciated, as there is a lot of misinformation out there.

Is it possible for people to fundraise for SFWC specifically?
Yes. SFWC is a registered 501c3.

As we do not yet know what the transition of operations will look like, any funds raised would be used to help continue to care for wildlife in need at the Center during the transition or through other organizations in the area.

Below are some of the ways you can raise funds or collect donations for SFWC:

  • Make a donation to SFWC here
  • Create a Facebook fundraiser
  • Create a fundraiser on a third party fundraising sites such as MightyCause.
  • Shopping on Amazon? Choose SFWC as your charity of your choice
  • Purchase items we need off of our Amazon wishlist here.
  • If you’re near the Center, stop by and visit our small gift shop.

What will happen to the animals?
It is far too early to tell what the final outcome will be, but we are exploring all alternatives including a shift back to an independent, local not-for-profit or helping other rehabilitation centers to expand their capacity to absorb portions of the work we are currently providing. The well-being of the animals remains our primary concern.

What is the timeline, I’ve heard the Center will be closing in a few weeks? Is this true?
South Florida Wildlife Center is in the process of evaluating various options to continue the work of the Center and HSUS is assisting with that evaluation. While it’s far too early to tell what the final outcome will be, closing the center within several weeks or months was never something being considered. Every animal deserves protection and help when human intervention can make a difference. As the Center looks for alternatives to continuing its work, there is not a set timeline, however it is our expectation that we will continue operating at the current location until our lease ends in September 2020. Both the Center and HSUS are committed to caring for our employees and ensuring the animals helped by the center continue to receive the care that they need through the transition process. We want to emphasize that is not happening immediately, and we will continue to provide optimal care to wildlife in distress, and will continue to need the support of the community

I thought there was a capital campaign for a new hospital, what happened?
We had begun the silent phase of a capital campaign to build a new hospital. It was paused in June of 2019 after Broward County informed us that we might need to relocate and build the hospital on another property where doing so would significantly more expensive. In light of that, HSUS re-assessed their investment in SFWC and its alignment with their strategic vision and determined it would not be supporting the capital campaign going forward, and that it was best to work on transitioning the operations of SFWC and look at alternatives for continuing the work of the center.

What about the funds raised for the capital campaign building fund?
As we work to determine what the transition looks like, we are staying in touch with donors who pledged to the capital building campaign. While we deeply appreciate those donors’ generosity and support, the campaign was based on the current location of the Center, not the more expensive site offered by the county.

What about cutting costs instead of closing? Why did it happen so fast without exploring other alternatives?
Cutting costs at this point was not an option.  SFWC already operates on a lean budget with significant support from HSUS, and we want to ensure that the animals in our care and our employees are not faced with more resource constraints. Because of the recent relocation developments, we are under significant time constraints.

Where will local wildlife now go for treatment of injuries and for rehab?
During the transition, the Center will continue to care for wildlife while scaling back as necessary.  We are still working on transitioning the operations and looking for alternatives to continuing the work of the center. There are a number of local groups already providing excellent rehabilitation services to wild animals in the area. While we don’t yet know what the transition of operations will look like, the well-being of the animals will be at the forefront of planning.

What if you cannot find someone to take over the work you do there?
We don’t believe that will be an issue, as there are several organizations in the area who we feel, with some financial assistance, could help absorb the additional animals. We have had preliminary discussions with several agencies posing possibilities. We will be reaching out to others in the coming weeks.

SFWC is in my will/bequest, what happens now?
We’re still exploring what it will look like to transition the operations and have not determined what that will look like, however we will keep you informed and if you determine that you’d like to change your bequest, we will provide you with the information to make a change that best reflects your wishes.

If you still have questions, please reach out to us at questions@southfloridawildlifecenter.org