The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC), which claims to be an animal sanctuary, is in fact one of the smallest zoos in the world. It houses hundreds of wild, non-desert animals on only 5 acres of land in the extreme heat of Arizona in cages that provide minimal or no shade. The contradictions of SWCC’s claims with the actualities are startling.
While the SWCC claims to be a conservation center, is a for profit zoo according to their own official application records with the Game and Fish department.
Not only is SWCC a zoo, the owner Linda Searle keeps over 300 wild animals on 5 acres of land in her backyard on a residential tract of land in the Sonoran desert.
To maintain their image as a conservation center and amass large donations, the SWCC does treat injured wild animals, however they do not release healthy animals back into the wild as wildlife conservations are supposed to do.
Instead they keep the animals permanently enclosed on their tiny tract of land to charge visitors for entry, earning additional income on top of donations.
They have used this reasoning to fight past lawsuits in addition to stating that they are the only wildlife sanctuary and conservation center in Arizona, a statement that is false. Here is a list of the legitimate animal conservation centers IN ARIZONA AND THE SOUTHWEST:
–a 1,800- acre animal conservation center: keepersofthewild.org
–a 400-acre animal conservation center: animalsanctuary.org
–a 160 acre animal conservation center: wildlifewaystation.org
–a 35,000+ acre animal conservation center: bestfriends.org
All of the above centers provide ample space for animals to roam and heal without the induced stress of a barrage of human visitors and small enclosed cages.
The SWCC justifies its failure to release healthy animals stating they cannot be rehabilitated, though experts speculate this is due to the fact that these improperly kept animals have developed symptoms of zoochosis (a type of insanity in wild animals) in which they cannot function normally and become a danger to themselves because of the poor conditions under which they are being held captive. This behavior was captured on film, the footage can be viewed here.
For example, wolves, coyotes and other wild animals walk 10-15 miles per day. No way are they able to do that in 10×10 foot cages that they are all crammed into at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.
These animals scream and bark and howl and cry day and night, non-typical behavior. The zoo’s owner refers to this crying as “entertainment” and “singing” to which the owner sells tickets for $25 CASH ONLY.
Even more startling is the fact that arctic wolves, arctic foxes, jaguars and even bears are permanently kept outdoors exposing them to the extreme heat of the Sonoran Desert with minimal/no shade provided to them. It is a clear act of animal cruelty that the zoo has been able to get away with under the guise of being a conservation center.
The owner of SWCC has refused to relocate the animals to cooler, larger, actual wildlife conservation centers in cooler regions of Arizona claiming the animals would not survive and would instead have to be euthanized if the SWCC were to be closed down.
For the many charitable organizations that have donated to the Center, rather than denying the truth, it would be wiser to denounce the animal cruelty occurring at SWCC and retract their support.
Animal Rights activists ask the public to boycott the SWCC altogether in an effort to close down the zoo and save the lives of the over 300 animals enclosed on this 5 acre residential backyard space. For more on this issue, please refer to the Full Report on the SWCC zoo.