Inside a quiet Scottsdale neighborhood is a home like no other.
“Liberty Wildlife is a wildlife rehabilitation and education foundation,” said Liberty Wildlife Executive Dir. Megan Mosby.
The single-family house has been transformed into emergency care and rehabilitation center for a variety of birds, reptiles and small mammals. When Liberty Wildlife formed more than 30 years ago, Mosby said they took in 85 animals. Today, they care for 3,000 to 4,000 every year.
“We are cramped, every space is taken,” she said. “We’re trying to build a new campus and looking for land right now. We’ll be able to open to the public and take in more animals.”
Liberty relies on hundreds of volunteers from all across Arizona. Some work from home, answering rescue calls 24/7 while others respond to the scene of trouble and dozens more, like Art Smith, show up at the rehab center to provide care.
“They run into windows, power lines, get hit by cars, are poisoned,” he said. “Roughly 54 percent of what we treat gets released back into the wild which is really good considering they got her on the tail end of a winning streak.”
Volunteer Laura Hackett landed at Liberty while rescuing other animals.
“I’d done work with pit bulls, feral cats and got to this great horned owl stuck to barbed wire and I had to call Liberty to rescue me and the bird and I was hooked once I came here and saw that they did,” she said.
While the goal is to treat and return the animals to the wild, not everyone leaves Liberty. Volunteer Joe Miller has trained seven eagles that were too badly damaged to survive on their own to serve as educational birds. He takes them to schools, resorts and other places to share his respect and knowledge.
“It never loses its shine,” he said. “When I take them out to the veterans, these guys cry because it moves them so much.”