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501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization | The Ellijay Wildlife Rehabilitation Sanctuary does not presently rehab migratory or birds of prey
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Looking Ahead to 2012

Financial Summary of 2011

The Wildlife Sanctuary has been blessed over the years with committed supporters who have helped us keep the lights on. In 2011, those supporters donated $50,370.56. We also received $6,000 in grants and generated $9,016.08 from tours and programs at the sanctuary. However, the sanctuary was hit by one tornado and two wind shear storms that devastated our perimeter fences and interior paddock fencing and poles, causing over $40,000 in damage.

Here is where we currently stand. The USDA and DNR have regulatory authority over our habitats. The USDA gave us 8 months to restore the perimeter fences around the cougar and bear paddocks. We have reached out to all of our donors to raise the $40,000 needed to restore the perimeter fencing. As you can see from the numbers above, the total need was not met. We have now applied for an extension of time, but that is no guarantee of the money.

Risks for 2012

For the sanctuary to move forward with habitat maintenance, utilities, telephone, fuel, permits, and animal care including the labor to clean cages, feed and water, health care, and management a budget of $120,000 a year is needed. As you can see, there is, and has been, a shortfall for several years. That means that we have to fill in with volunteers and delay maintenance because the sanctuary sees only about half of what it needs.

This is both a function of a depressed economy when people simply have fewer dollars to give, and the fact that raising money for wild animal rescue, rehabilitation and release is not as easy as raising money for dogs and cats. In addition, it requires certain economies of scale to pursue donations through tradition means like direct mail. The sanctuary does not have the dollars to invest in the traditional means of fund raising, like direct mail. Consequently, the sanctuary uses tours, programs and its newsletter to reach out to existing contributors and potential donors.

It is important to inform our supporters that there is a real risk to the lives of the bears and cougars if the sanctuary does not restore the perimeter fences in the next few months. We will not have the facility requirements to keep these animals. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that these beautiful cats will have a place to go, like a zoo or another sanctuary. That means the animals will have to be euthanized.

The sanctuary has been making every effort, with very insufficient dollars, to try to restore the required fencing by hand. There have been several fencing companies who have been invited to bid on the project but declined because of the difficult terrain. Only one has provided a bid, which includes removing all the damaged fencing and poles that are anchored in concrete, boring new footing holes, placing a pole, mixing and pouring concrete, and putting up both heavy gauge chain link fence and electrical wire similar to that used to discourage cattle from testing the perimeter fencing. In the case of the large cats, these are 10-foot high fences with a two-foot interior overhang and electrical wiring near the top to prevent them from scaling the fence.

Why Some Wild Animals are in Captivity

There is always the question why we have large animals that are not releasable. The answer, in the case of the bears, is that these animals were placed with the sanctuary for temporary care but became permanent residents when the release requirements changed in the state of Georgia. The cats were rescued from much less desirable conditions but are not releasable because they were originally held in captivity and did not learn the hunting and survival skills from their mother necessary to survive in the wild. Even if they were released into the wild, they would not know how to hunt for food or protect themselves from predators. Fortunately, both of these species live well past their life expectancy at the sanctuary. That being said, the sanctuary would prefer that every wild animal be returned to the wild where they truly belong.

The role of the sanctuary is to care for those animals that are sick, injured, or orphaned and care for them until they can be returned to the wild, and rescue indigenous animals from undesirable captive conditions. In the U.S. alone, there are literally thousands of wild cats held in private captivity in conditions that range from good to deplorable. Until we have the facility rebuilt, we are unable to rescue any of these large animals.

Immediate and Future Revenues

The Wildlife Sanctuary is at a crossroads. While we are making every effort to restore the required fencing, we will not succeed without the money for the supplies and labor. This portion is in your hands and any new donors that surface in the next few months. As you can imagine, it is our desire to restore the sanctuary perimeter fences and paddocks within the timeframe requirements of the USDA and the Georgia DNR. We would also like to build the necessary rehabilitation facilities to rescue raptors, which we cannot currently do because the flight aviary was destroyed by the trees collapsing on it from the storms.

Over many months, we have appealed to our contributors to help us add to our email list by encouraging people of similar hearts and minds to join our mailing list. Hopefully, they would read something that would encourage them to become donors. However, that has yielded less than 50 new subscribers.

There have also been many suggestions to hold fund raising events. While these are great ideas, and idea itself is 1% inspiration and requires 99% perspiration, and the sanctuary does not have the people-power to execute the 99% perspiration part.

We find ourselves a bit boxed in for developing revenues. Our expectation is that 2012 will yield more than $60,000 in donations for the year, against a need of $120,000 plus the cost of fence repairs. So, we have provided this information for our donors to decide our immediate and long-range future.


501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization
Grizzly, Wildlife Sanctuary Founder
Grizzly, Sanctuary Founder: 1958-2009
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Endowment Trust & Donations

One other avenue for the sanctuary is to establish The Wildlife Sanctuary Endowment Trust. We have the basic framework and documents to establish the trust. We are now seeking the trustees and the contributions to establish the long-term future of The Wildlife Sanctuary. If you wish to donate to The Wildlife Sanctuary Endowment Trust and/or be considered for an appointment as a trustee, please contact the Executive Director of The Wildlife Sanctuary.

We are not shutting down. The question going forward is whether or not we will have the facilities to maintain and rescue the large wildlife, meaning black bears and cougars. This would be wonderful since it is our belief that the panther is migrating back into Georgia and there will surely be injuries from vehicle impacts requiring the skill and services of the sanctuary. This will also likely be the case for black bears. It is this future capacity and service level that we want to preserve from what we have, through donations and/or the income from investments held in the endowment trust.

Immediate Donations

Please donate now what you feel you can. If you do the quick math, the first $5,000 each month goes to keeping the lights on, and anything above that can go to restoring the perimeter and paddock fencing. In addition, please check with your employer to see if they match gifts given to a not for profit organization. We are a 501c3 non-profit. It would also be a big help if you can refer (us to them or them to us) a major donor or corporate partner, foundation or association. We would be glad to pursue discussions with them.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this information as you make your donation decisions for 2012. We are grateful for every donor and dollar placed in our care.


Tim Grady
Executive Director
The Wildlife Sanctuary

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