Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care opens doors for annual open house |

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care opens doors for annual open house

Francis, a bobcat who has lived at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care since last September, can be seen at the organization's open house on Sunday, Aug. 7, before he moves to Shambala Preserve near Palmdale, California.
Courtesy / Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care |

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care hosts its 21st annual open house this Sunday, Aug. 7, marking the public’s one chance this year to get a peek at what the organization does at its headquarters. Beginning at 10 a.m., groups of approximately six people will be admitted onto the property for a 30-45 minute tour of the facilities, which house roughly 70 animals.

“The biggest highlight is being able to go in the backyard and see things they’ve never seen,” Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care’s founder Tom Millham said.

During rehabilitation, it is important for the animals to be away from human interaction to avoid growing comfortable around them. While visitors won’t be able to see most animals face-to-face, monitors show what is happening inside the various enclosures. Inside most cages are two cameras at different angles, displaying various areas of the habitat. The exception is the bear enclosure, which has three cameras.

Two animals — Francis, a bobcat, and Emma, a bald eagle — will be out so people can see them one-on-one, according to Millham. A golden eagle will also be in the flight area.

Next week Francis will be transferred to Shambala Preserve near Palmdale, California. The animal sanctuary is a permanent home for non-releasable cats. As Francis has nerve damage that is too severe it prevents his release, he moves to the reserve next week after 10 months at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.

Over 50 volunteers help with the execution of Sunday’s open house. Tasks include cleaning, conducting tours, selling merchandise and working registration.

“We put a lot of effort into this. It’s a major event for us,” Millham said. He added that the annual open house is Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care’s biggest one-day event.

“It’s an opportunity to educate the public on birds and animals and what happens in the wild,” he said. “They’ll have a better understanding of wildlife in the Tahoe area.”


Admission is free, although donations are graciously accepted. Cake, cookies, fruit punch and water are available at no cost, but there is a fee for merchandise such as T-shirts.

The wait to get in is approximately 30-45 minutes, according to Millham. After signing in, visitors watch a video on releases and exercises Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care has done in the past.

The event is held for six hours, opening at 10 a.m. and closing at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7, at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care — 1485 Cherry Hills Circle.

For more information, call 530-577-2273, visit or find the organization on Facebook at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Inc.

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