Nancy  Nancy Callahan

I have always had a passion for wildlife!!

I grew up in Wisconsin and was already rescuing critters by the age of ten! Word spread quickly that I had a heart for saving things and it wasn’t long before all kinds of critters……domestic and otherwise were being dropped at our doorstep!

My parents were very supportive, but there did come a point when they said enough was enough.

I wanted to be a veterinarian until I realized how many years of college and how much money it would take, so I decided to finish college (UW Madison) and then get a human nursing degree.

I moved to California right after nursing school and discovered a love for working in physical rehabilitation, rather than in hospitals. My first husband was in the restaurant business so, for a time, I left nursing to work with him. In the 1970s and 80s we traveled a lot and lived overseas. He used to say that we couldn’t go anywhere in the world where I didn’t find a critter that needed to be rescued!


In 1990 we returned to Santa Barbara and life brought many changes. I started working as a veterinary technician at La Cumbre Animal Hospital and continued to rehabilitate wildlife with the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.

In 2005 Santa Barbara city and county animal control agencies were experiencing serious budget cuts, so they could not devote much time to help solve urban/wildlife complaints or to educate the public. That year I started W.I.L.D.E.S. because I believe that education is the key!

I also applied for and was granted my own state rehabilitation license (La Cumbre Canyon Wildlife Rescue) and an exhibiting and education permit from the USDA.

I am located in the foothills of Santa Barbara, surrounded by Los Padres National Forest. Not only am I the founder and Director of W.I.L.D.E.S. and a wildlife rehabilitator, I also have a full time job, a family, domestic pets, and I am involved in many community activities.

Back to Volunteers