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Tucson Wildlife Center is Southern Arizona's only wildlife rescue hospital

Conducting rescue, rehab and release for the last 25 years
Posted at 2:29 PM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-01 16:29:47-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Each month we showcase a local nonprofit for our KGUN 9 Giving Project—Doing Well by Doing Good.

This March, we look at the Tucson Wildlife Center.

One of the best-kept secrets in Tucson, it's a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and returning wildlife to the wild.


"When you can bring something back and get it rehabilitated and then be able to release it again, there's just no feeling in the world like that."

~Kathy Carter, Wildlife Care Specialist

Kathy Carter is a Wildlife Care Specialist and an Arizona Master Naturalist at the Tucson Wildlife Center.

She oversees many of the baby bunnies and birds who come into Southern Arizona's only wildlife rescue center.

Kathy Carter nurses a baby bunny at the Tucson Wildlife Center.

Carter also helps reunite baby bobcats and javelinas who've been separated from their mothers.

She did that with a newborn javelina last month—within hours of it being brought into the center.

"Those moments are extremely special when you've reconnected something so small, and delicate, and in need with the right thing, which is the parent."

Hubert Parker is responsible for raising funds for the Tucson Wildlife Center.

"Our mission is rescue, rehab and most importantly release," said Parker, the center's development coordinator. "Our object is to get 'em back into the environment in their natural habitat."

It runs on donations and grants, with no government help.

Started a quarter century ago by Lisa Bates and her husband, the wildlife center now takes care of nearly 5,000 wild animals a year.

An American Kestrel in the care of Tucson Wildlife Center.

"We're the only wildlife rescue hospital in Tucson and all of Southern Arizona," Parker said. "We will go wherever—to Bisbee, Patagonia—to pick up injured owl, bobcat, javelina, whatever.

They not only rely on donations, they relay on more than 150 volunteers to help care for the wildlife.


With spring approaching, the center is preparing for their annual busy season.

"In one day, we took in about 24 neonate bunnies. It was, I mean—it's like mayhem, you know, when that happens," said Carter.

Located on Speedway near the Tanque Verde Ranch, the Tucson Wildlife Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month.

Pat Parris talks with Hubert Parker, Tucson Wildlife Center's Development Coordinator.

Pat: "That's a big milestone, 25 years."

Hubert: "It is. We're real proud of it, we're proud of the work we do and think we're a big asset to the community."

We invite you to make a donation to Tucson Wildlife Center at our Giving Project page.

Our partners in the Giving Project, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, will match the first $500 in donations.

Pat Parris is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. He is a graduate of Sabino High School where he was the 1982 high school state track champion in the 800 meters. While in high school and college, he worked part-time in the KGUN 9 newsroom. Share your story ideas and important issues with Pat by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


The Giving Project



  • $1876.00 - May 2022
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TOTAL TO DATE - $91,227.49

The Giving Project wants to identify local nonprofits that address community needs to spotlight a new nonprofit every month. Email details and contact information to