WeC: Caring for Animals Big & Small

Eagles, camels, zebras, tigers, leopards, bobcats and mountain lions—these animals and many more have found a friend in Patty Perry, founder of Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to conservation efforts throughout the globe.

A California native, born and raised in Brentwood, Patty’s love of animals began with horses, which she raised and rode professionally for years, and naturally extended to other species.

“Being on a horse ranch, other animals showed up—an injured bird, an orphaned bobcat, a sick raccoon, things like that,” says Patty, who earned a reputation as an animal caretaker due to her selfless care of countless critters who found their way to her home.

“I was born to do it; I know I was,” Patty says, recalling that when a local veterinarian clinic asked her to volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation facility, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I was so excited! It was a natural thing for me to do,” says Patty, who started out working with eagles, raptors and other birds of prey.

“It was hands-on, in the trenches—that’s how I learned,” she says. “I developed a passion for eagles—big, strong birds—as well as all species.”

Working as a volunteer for seven years and logging in thousands of hours of training with animals of all types, including birds, big cats, mammals and horses, Patty founded WeC in 2007 after a good friend encouraged her to follow her heart and donated the seed money for the organization.

Patty’s love for animals and knowledge gained through volunteering coupled with her multi-faceted business background serve as a strong foundation for Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Inc. The private, low-key facility located on 12 acres in Moorpark focuses on rehab and rescue of animals in need, as well as conservation and education.

“It’s a labor of love and a lot of hard work; my days of freedom kind of ended, but it’s the most wholesome and rewarding feeling to care for these animals and share them for conservation education,” notes Patty.

Pre-pandemic, the facility featured an open house fundraiser and educational events, which are currently paused to ensure the safety of the animals.

“We’re strictly here for the love of the animals and the service,” says Patty, who cares for the animals at the center together with the help of a “wonderful core of volunteers and keepers, office helpers and interns”—and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Milo, who has been her "right-hand man" for the past 11 years. "He has worked with all the animals, big and small, side by side with me. There is no possible way I could have gained the success I have had with training and enrichment without Milo,” says Patty.

Animals arrive at WeC for a variety of reasons, and “most have special needs in one way or another,” including big cats that have been orphaned, animals with autoimmune deficiency and other health issues, as well as ambassadors from captive breeding programs.

Seeing the animals regain their health during their rehabilitation at WeC makes all the hard work worth it, says Patty.

“The incredible relationships you develop with these types of animals, many who require 24/7 care when they arrive, is indescribable! When the neonates come in, you don’t go to bed; it’s incredibly labor-intensive and time-consuming and there’s sometimes no rest. It is hugely rewarding when they gain some trust and confidence—it’s amazing! This is why I do it,” says Patty, who works with organizations like the Moorpark College Teaching Zoo to find homes for many of the animals once they are healthy. “Sending them off is so rewarding,” she says.

Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Inc. is mostly privately funded and fully permitted. The organization is a long-standing member of The Feline Conservation Foundation and The Zoological Association of America.

Despite the fundraising challenges shared by many nonprofits, Patty always feels grateful for the support of generous donors.

“Constantly having to work very hard at raising money to keep the place up” is the most challenging aspect of running her nonprofit. However, “I have been very fortunate to have the consistent support from benefactors that I cultivated over time and who have made it possible for us to share our mission.”

Visit WeC at HelpWildlife.org to learn more or donate to help the animals at Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Inc.

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