The California Raptor Center (CRC) will be holding it’s bi-annual open house this weekend. The open house comes at a critical time for the CRC, as all of their operating funding was recently cut due to the budget crisis across the state of California.
“If we can’t get our money restored or find another way to get the operating funds, we’ll sadly have to close our doors,” said Lis Flemming, an education program volunteer at the CRC. “People won’t be able to bring injured birds to us, and the vet students won’t be able to learn how to take care of them.”
The open house will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include presentations on different types of birds that the center houses and opportunities to see these birds up close.
“The open house is designed to show people what we do. The special presentations will demonstrate fascinating features of raptor biology and ecology and visitors will be able to see many non-releasable raptors housed in display cages, as well as birds out on the glove,” according a statement release by the CRC.
The CRC, an offshoot of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, works to rehabilitate injured and sick birds and release them back into the wild. The CRC is also a place that veterinary students can learn about caring for and managing birds.
While the CRC has been able to stay open due to funds that had been saved for new cages, they need external donations to help them keep the center open and continue to care for the birds.
“That’s money that pays for food for the birds and the positions of people who have to be there to supervise the volunteers. We’re continuing to keep going because we had some money saved up to buy new cages, so now that’s being used to take care of the birds and run the place,” said Flemming.
Dr. William Ferrier, co-director of the CRC said that along with the CRC, much of the veterinary school felt the impact of the budget crisis.
“The veterinary school made cuts in a lot of different programs throughout the school, and the raptor center was one of them,” he said. “The vet school is very supportive of the program and they do a tremendous amount for the community in general, including the raptor center. We were all victims of the state budget cuts.”Ferrier said that the CRC needs funding from outside sources in order to stay open, and hopes that the community realizes the importance of the center.
“The money to keep the doors open needs to come from external funding, it needs to come from the community, and from businesses and from friends of the raptor center that care about the importance of these birds in our eco-system,” Ferrier said. The California Raptor Center is located in south campus, at Old Davis Road. More information can be found at vetmed.ucdavis.edu/calraptor.
HANNAH STRUMWASSER can be reached at email@example.com.