Wildlife Waystation Is Now Up for Sale — This One Hurts!

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The surprisingly large number of L.A. residents who have visited and contributed to the Wildlife Waystation will be sad to note that it’s now for sale, and the famous animal sanctuary is no more.

Wildlife Waystation

It isn’t often that real estate reporting moves me to tears, but when I heard that the beloved Wildlife Waystation had been listed at last, I got misty eyed. It’s the end of a poignant, 43-year era for the one-of-a-kind private property in Sylmar (just outside of LA) that once served as a sanctuary for more than 470 exotic animals, is effectively over.

Listed for $2.2 million, the property’s 160 acres offer vast and diverse animal accommodations, as well as a unique two-bedroom cabin for humans. It’s interesting to see where owner and former Wildlife Waystation president and chief operating officer Martine Collette has lived for more than four decades.

Wildlife Waystation

Her charming, rustic lodge, with exotic animals housed just steps away, was nestled under the eucalyptus, sycamore, and oak trees dotting the Angeles National Forest.

Wildlife Waystation

The sale is brought about by a number of reasons, among them the fact that the Wildlife Waystation, which was supported by private donations, has been battered by natural disasters over the past few years, including the 2017 Creek Fire and flooding earlier this year.

Wildlife Waystation

Regulations were another hurdle. It’s complicated and expensive for the organization’s owners to remain current with federal, state, and county animal welfare licensing ordinances.

Not only were there lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), but the facility was also reported to have the largest population of chimpanzees in the Western United States, most of them rescued from biomedical research laboratories.

Wildlife Waystation

Many of the facility’s animals were rescued after being abandoned or injured, or living in inadequate private collections. The organization’s intent was to care for the animals until permanent housing could be found, but many lived on the property for the rest of their days.

Wildlife Waystation

The 1,200-square-foot home features stone floors and fireplaces, as well as wood-paneled walls and ceilings. The furniture and accessories could be negotiated for sale.

Wildlife Waystation

The kitchen features a brick oven and industrial-grade stove, as well as vintage iron and copper details and a hefty butcher block.
Wildlife Waystation
Wildlife Waystation
The house features built-in shelving throughout, including cupboards made of wood and accented by etched- or stained-glass panels. Skylights and French doors allow plenty of natural light.
Lodge with French doors and skylights

Even the bathrooms display a distinctive wildlife decor.

Jungle-vibe bathroom


Safari shower


African-inspired bath
There are patios, courtyards, and dining areas throughout the property, ideal for gatherings large and small. Fundraisers and other special events have been held in these spots over the years.

Wildlife Waystation

Outdoor bar
Wildlife Waystation


Relaxation spot

Suitable homes have been found for the animals since the sanctuary officially closed in August, but some remain, including the giant koi in the ponds.

Koi pond

The property boasts hiking trails, animal enclosures, a pond, separate office building, a vet hospital, and an old movie set.

There are myriad uses for the property, according to listing agent Mary Anne Singer. Her favorite involves continuing to house the chimps there (they haven’t been moved yet) and developing a new sanctuary for the primates.

The property would also be ideal for a buyer with a different vision, perhaps as a retreat for a photographer, artist, or nature lover, Singer adds. The property feels like a world away, yet it’s only about 20 minutes away from Beverly Hills.

Its proximity to Hollywood also makes it an ideal filming location. The 160 acres can double as India, Africa, the American West, or a number of other exotic places.

Find more info and photos of the Wildlife Waystation in my original article on Realtor.com.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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