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Meet Stacy Gunderson of Animal Tracks in Agua Dulce

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacy Gunderson.

Stacy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I went to Moorpark College for the Exotic Training and Management Program and graduated in 1989. I have been a professional Wildlife Caregiver for 30 years, with primates being my “specialty”.  Trenda Renegar started Animal Tracks in 2002 and I took it over in 2007. We are a 501c3 Nonprofit wild & exotic animal rescue located at the northernmost part of Santa Clarita, just outside of Los Angeles. We have years and years of experience with each of these animals, all have various stories, such as they were confiscated, injured, bought in the exotic pet trade and owner surrendered, imprinted, came from hoarding situations, etc. Many of these animals lack physical perfection, or they are hybrids, which makes them unqualified for zoo life.

Our job is to give these animals a forever home and share their stories with the world. We go to schools, libraries, summer camps, assisted living facilities, festivals and such, providing hour-long educational & entertaining programs, we call it “edutainment”!

We also provide tours at our facility and also a unique “Monkey Experience”. We are one of the very few facilities in the United States that offer hands-on interaction with primates. This is an educational, up close & personal adventure where we speak extensively about primates importance in the ecosystem and the need to be respectful of them in captivity as well as in the wild. The world is one large, connected place, like a puzzle, and you cannot keep removing species from the puzzle, it will not retain it’s shaped and will fall apart eventually. Every living thing serves a purpose, no matter how small or large, the dung beetle is just as important as the rhinoceros! (quote from a Julia Roberts documentary)

Mother Nature is quickly approaching the point of no return. She has fed species greater than us, and she has starved species greater than us! Here at Animal Tracks, we are trying our best, in our own small way, to make the world a better place!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We have run out of room to build more enclosures to rescue more animals in need, and have had to start turning animals away. We are desperately in need of a benefactor to help us obtain a larger property so that we may continue our mission and give our animals an even better place to spend the rest of their days.

Animal Tracks – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a Noah’s Ark of sorts insofar as we have a large variety of animals, mostly exotic, with a few native wildlife as well. We are very educational in a fun, entertaining way and offer interaction with almost all of our animals. We pride ourselves for being a Mom-n-Pop style facility and don’t want to become a large, corporate-style facility. We pride ourselves in being able to offer unique, intimate experiences that visitors will remember for the rest of their lives. We want to touch people’s hearts with our animals, and teach them that they belong in the wild, not in our homes.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
It is ongoing as we continue our mission of rescuing animals and teaching people about their importance in our world.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Animal Tracks Staff

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