A Shelter from the Storm

For decades, PAWS has rehabilitated thousands of seabirds, waterfowl and marine mammals. These animals have come to us orphaned, injured or threatened. In just a few weeks, PAWS will begin serving even more of these incredible creatures with a facility that is truly one-of-a kind.

Construction is nearly complete on four new aquatic pools at PAWS Wildlife Center that will allow us to serve far more animals at an even higher level of care. Thanks to the hard work of PAWS’ staff, volunteers, and the kindness of our remarkable donors—what was once just a grand idea—will soon be a reality.

Roomy and Green
PAWS is the only licensed facility in Washington State authorized to rehabilitate oiled birds. These new pools will really help us provide better conditioning and pre-release care for those animals suffering from oil spills and other injuries. The large pool capacity is now doubled from four to eight pools, allowing PAWS to easily care for more than 120 medium-sized seabirds suffering from an oil spill event.

The new pool system is “family friendly.” Two of the pools can be connected with a community haul-out for larger groups of seals. This allows the animals to be housed together in a more natural and enriching environment and makes a remarkable difference in the rehabilitation process.

The new system is also environmentally conscious. Our new pools will recycle and clean the water continuously, making the operation much more efficient.

Five Star Accommodations
Each pool is self-contained, holds 4,000 gallons of water and is four feet deep. They come complete with jet sprayers on the bottom edges and in the center of each pool that can be adjusted for individual animals.

The pools are also equipped with large haul-outs for the animals to get out of the water to dry and sun themselves. Seals love this feature because they often dive in and haul out of the water to take in a little sunshine. To keep things clean, each pool is surrounded by continuous gutters that maximize skimming. To keep the pools accessible, the perimeters are equipped with composite decking. This allows staff and volunteers to safely service the pools and care for the animals.

Custom Care
Not only is the new system larger and more comfortable, it also offers each animal a specific environment that will enhance their recovery.

Each species is different, so the jet sprayers in the new system are designed to provide environmental flexibility. This means PAWS’ caretakers can increase and decrease the water current in each pool specific to the species they’re rehabilitating. For example, seabirds recovering from an oil spill—already washed and dried at PAWS—can now enjoy a faster current to swim against while they hunt fish. This better prepares them physically and mentally for the real waters they’ll encounter when returned to the wild. If an animal needs extra exercise and conditioning post-injury, we have the ability to offer more swimming time, increased or decreased water currents, and extra flexibility with the types of haul-outs offered. Some wild animals prefer rock haul-outs, fl at haul-outs or stationary or floating haul-outs.

A Little Privacy…Please
The custom domes on each pool, made of fiberglass-coated plywood and netting, will provide our wild patients shelter from sun and foul weather as well as privacy from people and the daily operations of PAWS Wildlife Center. This is a crucial factor in allowing aquatic animals the freedom to socialize and behave normally together while avoiding environmental stress and human contact with their caregivers.

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