Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Dori Wittrig October 16, 2020

It all started with a single coyote. When Linda Searles found an orphaned coyote pup, there were no local veterinarians who would treat orphaned or injured wild animals. She dreamed of a wildlife rehabilitation center, and that dream turned into reality with the purchase of 10 acres near Rio Verde in 1994.
Today, Southwest Wildlife is one of the leading wildlife sanctuary and rehab centers in the southwestern United States. They take in injured, displaced, and orphaned animals who have lost their homes. Rehabilitated animals return to the wild, but those that cannot be released are provided life-long sanctuary.
Participation in the recovery of the endangered Mexican gray wolf has also been an important project for the non-profit. They also offer sanctuary to wild horses and burros who have been neglected, abused, or are slaughter-bound. Often new homes are found for them, but some peacefully live out their remaining days at Southwest Wildlife.
Other animals have also made their home here over the years: bears, coati, coyotes, deer, fox, leopard, javelina, mountain lion, owl, desert tortoise, and even skunk! Many of them can be seen on tours of the facility.
Education and humane scientific research opportunities are an important part of the organization’s mission. They have a passion for educating and inspiring people to learn about and respect wildlife and conserving their habitat.
As with most non-profits, Southwest Wildlife is funded entirely through private donations, fundraising, and grants. They have volunteer teams who respond to wildlife emergencies, provide an on-site medical care center, and offer full-time wildlife consultation services.
Southwest Wildlife is open to the public by appointment only. Tours include A Walk with Wildlife, Twilight Tours, Full Moon Tours, school field trips, and virtual events.
For information about the organization and available tours, visit

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