Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care welcomes community for annual open house |

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care welcomes community for annual open house

Autumn Whitney
Pete Van Arnum, a retired lieutenant with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department and current LTWC volunteer, works with Emma.
Courtesy / Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care |

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care opens its doors to the public one day each year — on Sunday, July 30, the South Lake Tahoe community will once again have the opportunity to tour the grounds and learn about the animals the nonprofit currently hosts.

In all, LTWC houses approximately 40-50 animals that can be seen at the event, which is held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“As people get here they register, we give them a ticket and that’s their spot in line. If we have 10 people you’re not going to wait long. If we have 150, that’s about an hour. The past two years we had roughly 1,000 people come through in the six hours we were open,” LTWC founder Tom Millham said.

Volunteers will guide visitors through a tour of the grounds, which includes sightings of bear cubs, hawks, raccoons, owls, river otters and more. While most animals will only be seen through live video feeds on a multitude of screens, guests will get to come within a few feet of LTWC’s one permanent care resident: Emma the bald eagle.

“She’ll be on display all day near the river otter cage, and volunteers will be there to talk about how she came into our care and what’s going on with her,” Millham explained.

Open house attendance is free, but donations are encouraged. Proceeds go toward supporting LTWC’s mission of raising, rehabilitating and releasing injured animals, along with funding the organization’s new site at 1551 Al Tahoe Blvd. Construction is roughly halfway finished, according to Millham.

“All the underground work is now complete — meaning the piping for electrical, gas, telephone, video, sewer and water,” he noted.

What remains is building the structures.

“It’s a $7 million project. We had $3.5 million and now we’re working on the other $3.5 million.

“The overwhelming majority of the $3.5 million is for the main caretaker building, which is also the hospital, store and boardroom,” Millham continued, adding that once funds are raised the project would take about one year to finish.

LTWC has been in operation for 40 years. Learn more about the organization, which is located at 1485 Cherry Hills Circle, online at, on Facebook (@laketahoewildlifecare) or call 530-577-2273.

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