CRUEL ZOO: Southwest Wildlife ‘Conservation Center’ in Scottsdale: “Entertainment and…

All of Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center’s enclosures are claustrophobically small, and the 5-acre facility at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is more than likely the smallest “conservation center” in the entire United States.  Rather than promoting respect for or understanding of animals, signs often provide little more information than an animal’s species, diet, and natural range. Animals’ normal behavior is seldom discussed, much less observed, because their natural needs are never met.  

Natural hunting and mating behaviors are virtually eliminated by regulated feeding and forced breeding regimens. Animals are closely confined, lack privacy, and have little opportunity for mental stimulation or physical exercise.  These conditions often result in abnormal and self-destructive behavior, known as “zoochosis.”

SOUTHWEST WILDLIFE CONSERVATION CENTER cant make money on its own merit, so it hired a grassroots pro-zoo public relations advocate by the name of Richelle Fatheree.  (I have no idea how someone can be pro-zoo in this day and age, when zoos around the world are closing down because they realize what they are doing is WRONG.)  Richelle Fatheree runs the [incoherent] website called “Propinquity”  to attempt to spin support for the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center and other zoos including the Washington DC zoo, saying they provide “education.” It’s a hollow claim.  The truth is all zoos claim to “educate”  See link below, section heading titled “Entertainment, Not Education.”

Here is an overall summary about this sad and cruel place:  

1) SWCC is a zoo, and they are licensed as a zoo by the game and fish department — It is not registered as a wildlife sanctuary and the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is unaccredited as a zoo -OR- wildlife sanctuary.  

2) SWCC states that the name of its zoo is “Southwest Wildlife Conversation Center” –very deceiving — but the fact remains that it is a zoo.  In an interview the owner (Linda Searles) isn’t very bright and doesnt even know the difference between a zoo wand a wildlife sanctuary.    

2) SWCC states that the name of its zoo is “Southwest Wildlife Conversation Center” –very deceiving — but the fact remains that it is a zoo.  In an interview the owner (Linda Searles) isn’t very bright and doesnt even know the difference between a zoo wand a wildlife sanctuary.    

Conservation centers are large territories where animals have large enclosures in which to live — not small metal cages on small 5-10 acre parcels of land like at SWCC Scottsdale (according to my basic understanding)

Conservation centers are not located in residential neighborhoods in rich cities like Scottsdale where wealthy visitors can easily access the facility.  

Conservations centers do NOT have breeding programs:  SWCC Scottsdale does breed their animals – Baby animals are considered a major attraction to paying visitors after all, more animals means more money for the greedy curator!

Conservation Centers are placed in habitats which are native to the animals being kept.  ~90% of SWCC Scottsdale animals (mountain lions, bears, tigers, Arctic wolves and Arctic foxes, grey wolves)  are imported from colder climates to the inhospitable Sonoran desert.

4) Arizona has many different climates and elevations, and the low desert valleys are the hottest (where Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is located) while the surrounding parts of the state are wooded, have a higher elevation and are therefore much cooler.  The extremely heat of Scottsdale is NOT an appropriate location for housing any animals which are kept outdoors 24/7.  In addition to being hundreds of times larger, the other sanctuaries listed above are a lot more temperate, tens-to hundreds of times larger and therefore more appropriate.  

5) SWCC DOES have a breeding program.  They literally state directly on their facebook and webpages that they have: “a captive breeding program”  (see attached screenshot from the SWCC website).  They breed these animals only to keep them in captivity for entertainment.  

6) As part of SWCC’s breeding program, SWCC routinely solicits and imports captured animals from all over the United States to the extremely inhospitable and dangerous Arizona deserts.  While this is not illegal, why would the “animal lovers” at SWCC import these thick-coated animals from other places in North America to the Sonoran valley when the temperatures exceed 100 degrees degrees in the shade.   The extremely hot temperatures are hell for these animals.  The cages at SWCC are incredibly small and have almost NO shade!!!!!  As a reminder, humans who have the ability to perspire and have no fur to speak of cannot handle high temperatures, let alone canines or other animals with thick fur coats:

For example, the thick-furred Mexican Grey Wolves that SWCC Scottsdale has are not native to the Sonoran desert, they are native to “mountainous forests and woodlands” according to experts at  So why are they being bred in captivity in the wealthy Scottsdale deserts?  Answer: Money for SWCC Scottsdale’s owner, Linda Searles.  

7)  SWCC charges an admission and has a tacky, for profit gift shop (much like a zoo).   It is clear that this place is built fr entertainment and profit, despite being a “non-profit” group.  

8) The public is being fooled.  Over the past years, SWCC has duped consumers and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust out of hundreds of thousands of dollars as the zoo misrepresents itself as a “sanctuary”(see attached)The Nina-mason Trust has given $100,000 to this zoo on at least two occasions.  

9) Finally, and most upsettingly, Linda Searles has threatened on multiple occasions that if she is forced to close she would rather euthanize all of her animals rather than give them to other wildlife sanctuaries.    

If SWCC really loved these animals and wasnt in it for the money, SHE WOULD WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY TO give these animals a larger and more appropriate and temperate habitat in which to live — not threaten to keep them or kill them if she cant have things exactly her way.   Linda Searles motivation is money and the risk of animal safety and comfort

In summary, SWCC is not a legitimate “conservation center”– it is a zoo, and a cruel zoo at that — in which the malicious money-driven curator who has threatened to euthanize endangered species unless she gets her way.  Someone like this has no business being in charge of animals of any kind.  

9)  SWCC is a ~5 acre property less than half of which is utilized to contain between 300 and 400 animals, all of which are in very small cages.  My understanding of a “sanctuary” is that they are much larger properties (hundreds of acres) and without cages, but rather, huge enclosures where animals may socialize.  For example:

–a 400-acre sanctuary:

–a 160 care sanctuary:

–a 1,800-acre sanctuary (close by cooler climate….in Kingman, Az):

–a 2,000 acre $2.2 million sanctuary is also in the works on the arizona-nevada border:

The above are LEGITIMATE examples of REAL animal sanctuaries in AZ which have animals in significantly larger enclosures (not small cages) and are located in milder climates that are compatible with animals with thicker fur coats and undercoats, as opposed to SWCC which is tiny in comparison to size, funding, and keeps animals in small cages.   I have personally witnessed SWCC where, the dozens upon dozens of canines have nowhere to instinctively cower away from the dozens of daily visiting, loud, gawking humans which come right up to the cages (after all, giving the animals a place to hide from people would be “bad for business.”)

Not speaking out against SWCC will encourage other for-profit “backyard zoos” by Arizona residents in rural areas where progressive and sensitivity to poor wild creatures are lacking.  

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  • love animals says:

    There is a special place in hell for SICK FUKS like these people that abuse animals by locking them in cages in the desert.

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