The Lawrence Ellison Foundation is funding a multi-million effort to create a wildlife refuge, rehabilitation, and education center in California's Santa Cruz Mountains, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Developed in partnership with the Peninsula Humane Society, the Conservation Center for Wildlife Care will occupy a hundred and seventy acres of woodland that has been logged and used as a quarry in the past. The center, which is expected to serve more than eight thousand "patients" a year, will include a facility for mending broken wings and torn hides, fifty rehabilitation enclosures, a hands-on educational component, and a captive breeding facility for at-risk species, with a focus on reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Although such species are not as glamorous as the California condor, the largest land bird in North America, they are considered to be vital components of the local ecosystem. One such species, Lange's metalmark butterfly, is only found among the sandy dunes in and around the community of Antioch and saw its population plunge to just forty-five in recent years.
According to the Mercury News, it's unclear how much of the center's cost will be covered by Oracle chairman Larry Ellison. In the past, Ellison — a signatory of the Giving Pledge — has supported international efforts to save gorillas and combat ivory poaching, and he also gave $3 million to the Peninsula Humane Society toward construction of its headquarters in Burlingame. While Peninsula Humane Society president Ken White could not say how much the center will cost, he did tell the Mercury News that animal rehabilitation centers generally run about $600 a square foot, which would bring the price tag for the 80,000 square-foot facility to roughly $50 million.
"It's a very significant contribution," said White. "[Ellison] has been very kind to this organization. There's not enough money for any charitable causes, and there's even less for those involving animals. And among those causes, ones benefiting local wildlife are at the bottom."