/ Modified feb 20, 2013 3:56 p.m.

New Beginnings for Wild Animals

Facility in Southern Arizona takes in hundreds of critters


When Lisa Bates was a little girl growing up in Tucson, she used to rescue animals from the desert, and those efforts have turned into a lifelong passion.

Bates established the Tucson Wildlife Center in 1998 on a few acres she owns east of the city. The facility has since become a non-profit organization that relies heavily on volunteers who tend to hundreds of animals each year.

Bates says the critters run the gamut from coyotes, javelinas and bobcats to falcons, hawks and golden eagles.

Right now, the center is working on three projects that will benefit the animals and the people who donate their time or services.

Tucson Electric Power Co. is providing resources and personnel to build a flight enclosure for raptors, a new and larger bobcat facility is under construction, as is a state-of-the-art wildlife hospital.

Bates says the work is endless but the rewards are priceless.

"This is a great labor of love," she says. "I feel like it's a job where I'm needed, and our crews are needed. The work we do is needed to just make it a better community for everybody, especially the animals."

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